My last column was about dancing and eating and drinking in the Bolivian culture with my daughters over the summer. If I continued on the trend of having you follow the events of my life, this month, you can peak into the “singing” of my own version of the “12 Days of Christmas.”
“On the fourth day of Christmas, my true loves brought to me, four strep throats, three sinus infections, two stomach bugs and a nasty case of swimmers ear.”
Yep, the highs and lows of life. Would I rather be hiking through the Andes and inspecting Mayan artifacts? As I was scrubbing the carpet of one patient’s mess, I certainly thought so. But as my baby laid her head on my chest and breathed a sigh of contentment after a night full of crying, I’m not sure that I could say that.
Travel and food and adventure have their place in life, especially if you have a slight addiction to travel as I do, but what is the point if you don’t have those you love with you?
After a crazy semester in college, my mother once asked me, “What happened to you?” The former salutatorian and very responsible person who I had once been, was now running around at the last minute barely finishing, although definitely finishing in the end. I didn’t have an answer then, but after years of thinking about the question, I finally came up with my answer—people. People happened to me. I realized that the relationships we make with people and the impact we have on people will be the only thing left at the end of the day
This is not to say that being responsible is not important, and that organized people don’t care about people, it’s just a challenge to really look at our lives and see what is driving us and what commands our time. Jesus’ life constantly showed that relationships are what mattered.
Even just before his death, he was still concerned about the people around him. His words in John 19 to his mother Mary telling her that John was her son, and to John, that Mary was his mother, show us the concern that he had for them. And they reveal the continued concern he has for us in giving us his mother to intercede on our behalf. Just as we seek the intercession of those around us in our prayers, we are connected to a great cloud of witnesses, as Hebrews says, who continue to intercede.
How great the depths of love, that God not only allows us to love and be loved by him, but allows us to do that on earth and after death with others as well. As Jesus says in Matthew 25:40 “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” So should I have put up more and better Christmas decorations this year? Maybe so. But sitting with my children and coming up with how we would celebrate the 12 days of Christmas this year, with each day offering Jesus a gift in serving others was a longer lasting use of our time. So as we look into another year, may we challenge ourselves to love people. Let us show our love of God by how we love the people he puts around us, and those he asks us to seek out to love. In this way, we fulfill the greatest commandment, to love God and to love our neighbor.
So while the highs and lows are inevitable, may we be Jesus’ true love by loving others. So we can now sing a new song: “On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, four thank you calls, three nice hugs, two tins for neighbors and a birthday cake for Jesus.”
Kasey Carty Jordan is a former missionary to China and currently serves in youth ministry with her husband Kurt at their Catholic parish. The Jordans reside in Monticello with their seven children.