Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Midnight Mass, A Christmas Offering

Give me a heart
of incense
smoke that rises
in hazy spirals
rippling like fragrant
satin ribbons-
My worshipful heart
carried in the smoky praise
Breathe me in
Let me fill whatever lungs
inhale Heaven's air-
I am only this

Midnight Mass
by Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia

To Jesus who bent down that I may rise-
Merry Christmas to my Savior!

It is Christmas Eve and I will be attending Midnight Mass at St. Patrick's in Anchorage, AK.

St. Pat's has Mass all evening but they only perfume the sanctuary with smoking censers of sacred incense at midnight.

That is the one for me.

It evokes childhood memories of counting the minutes until Jesus would be reborn for us all each Christmas. I always wanted to begin Christmas in church. I wanted Christ to find me there come early to the party. Waiting.

When Mass was over the smell of worship and welcome lingered on my hair and clothing all the way home. In all the ways that matter the Holy, Holy, Holy of it lingers still. The difference is that I am discontent to simply stand in the incense offered by other hands. I want to be that fragrant offering Heaven saves in bottles
to be released to the joy and excitation of praise from the Beasts around His throne.

Unbelievable as it seems, Eternity wants this. Heaven breaths on the offerings I have made to charity but it inhales my unadorned worship spoken in secret- just my heart to the One upon the throne and those who attend Him. All any of us have to give is what is in our hearts. All we have to celebrate began with Christ and His obedient offering.

Tonight as I stand in the smoky sanctuary I will be His gift rising from the ashes of His own sacrifice.*

I invite you to join me from right where you are.


Blessings for a Holy-Merry-Fragrant-Christmas!

* I will also have with me a special love offering in memory of and in celebration of the sons of three mothers who are my friends: Sally's son Justin, Melody's son Brent and Kelly's son Jason. Sons who are too loved to be forgotten.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Songs Unknown To Cats

Broken Blessings

He uses the bare lilac as a ladder
hopping furtively closer to the chipped
iron railing and finally to the old ceramic
bird feeder filled with salvation

He is less afraid today or maybe
just more hungry than yesterday
His flight feathers are injured and I would
guess he was preoccupied when the tabby
caught him just barely but not enough

He will heal in time if he is careful to stay beyond
her unforgiving claws and if he does not starve
Thistle seeds will help- these prickly, purple holy things
A curse on the earth but a blessing in afterthought

Sometimes the very things that undo us
prove our passage-paid-ahead to some blessed event
The world is full of gratitude waiting to be revealed like
nourishment hiding beneath stickers

Tomorrow he will sit upon my hand and we will both feel less injured
We are brothers, bird and I, and we will sing songs unknown to cats
until the lilacs speak of spring

-Kat Cavanaugh LaMantia

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5