At Christmas time, we celebrate the divine, the holy, coming into the world. When we want to see what that looks like, we look to Jesus whose whole life and ministry is a revelation of divine love, compassion and forgiveness. We also look for any place in our lives and in the world where light is breaking through. When we see light, especially where we wouldn’t necessarily expect it, we can say, ah, there’s the presence of the divine, the presence of the holy.
The following poem, Small Kindnesses, by Danusha Lameris, invites us to see divine light, the holy, breaking in in small acts of kindness. May this poem be a gift to you this Christmas season. May it entice you to see the holy in new ways, in small ways, as we move into the new year.
By Danusha Laméris
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”