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Reflection

Christmas 2011

One of the many nativity scenes that go on display at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods every holiday season.

Believe!

How many times have you seen this encouragement during this “holly jolly season?”

For me, it usually connotes the magic of Christmas, the fun for many children of knowing that Santa will come. It also evokes a response of hope in the power of so many persons of good will in the world; and, of course, it reminds me of the God in Whom I believe and hope and place my trust.

But, maybe because I’m getting older and like to remember more and more from my childhood, I have found myself dwelling on a story my very favorite aunt, Aunt Lu, told me when I was just starting high school.

For Christmas, Lu had asked for a pair of slippers. She knew exactly what she longed for — red slippers with white “fur” around the tops. She believed that Santa would deliver them on Christmas morning; she never once doubted it would be so.

Christmas dawned and she did receive slippers — blue ones, no fur. She was devastated. How did this happen? The all-knowing, all-seeing Santa had let her down.

Aunt Lu’s end of the story went something like this — or at least, this is what I took away from her story. It’s always best to be clear and specific in what we desire and ask for from others — even Santa. I add — maybe even in our relationship with our Provident God … .

We know we do believe in a God of compassion and presence who asks us to help others believe by bringing God’s compassion and presence into the world through our “works of love, mercy and justice.”

We know that the longings of the people of Earth are often misdirected, poorly expressed, trampled on by systems of abusive power. The needs of Earth and Earth’s people are often simply overwhelming for all of us people of good will.

Yet, we do believe in the God whose name is Emmanuel, who is always with us –— even when we do not know what to ask for to fill our needs, to mend relationships, to move God’s loving plans forward.

Perhaps you will join me these last days before Christmas in spending a little quiet time pondering what it is I’d like to ask as a gift from the Holy One this sacred day of the birth of Jesus Christ. I’m going to try to be specific — not assume I can leave the details out. Not because God needs help knowing what I truly need — but because I do.

Know that you and your loved ones will be in my prayer and the prayer of all Sisters of Providence during the Christmas season!

Merriness at Christmas and don’t forget to believe in “that Providence which thus far has never failed us.” (Saint Mother Theodore Guerin)
Denise Wilkinson, SP
General Superior

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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