Look and see the Face of God

For many, Thanksgiving is a pivotal moment in the steady march toward a new year, marking the onset of what is commonly called the “holiday season”. Bookended by the national holiday and the ringing in of the New Year, the season is filled with a madcap rush of non-stop activities centered on family gatherings, shopping, decorating, cooking, parties, and more. The air is filled with insistent voices urging everyone to stop whatever they are doing and shop, shop, shop. Each passing day only serves to increase the sense of impending doom should one fail to get it while it lasts!

Light Off Angels' Wings

Light Off Angels’ Wings

Lost in all the hype and blather is the true reason for the season and recognition that there are those who will find it impossible to participate in this festive time. With all of the activities that ensue in preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, our thoughts are seldom focused on the why? Each year it seems, fewer and fewer can either recall or care to consider the basis upon which we come together to celebrate any of the numerous holidays that occur over the year’s waning days. The prevalent attitude appears to be that there need be no reason for any bacchanalian celebration, so just party on.

Forgotten are those who find themselves in circumstances much like the poor Jewish carpenter and his very pregnant wife who found themselves, many years ago, in unfamiliar surroundings, friendless, alone, and homeless. Those who did not share their circumstances gave no thought to their plight as they went about their ordinary and busy lives. They traveled through the throngs as if they were wrapped in invisibility cloaks. It was indeed the darkest of times to be among the poor.

But there came a night, a time of new birth, when light off angels’ wings dispelled the darkness and the heavens sang with joyful noise. It was a time when those who lived among the shadows received unexpected visitors whose presence lifted their spirits and brought them the gift of hope. And the visitors received the greatest gift of all for they looked upon the newborn child and saw the face of God.

As we begin to journey through the year’s waning days let us take a moment to remind ourselves of the richness of the season, the significance of the events we should be observing, and to remember those less fortunate. Let us always and everywhere thank God for all the blessings we have received from him. And let us open ourselves to be the lamp that brings light to those in darkness and fire to warm the hearts of those who lay shivering in the cold.

I penned the poem that follows as I looked upon the partially snow-covered ground that lay outside my window this past Thanksgiving afternoon. It was then that I realized just how blessed I was to be in a warm, safe place, filled with the satisfaction and contentment that comes from sharing a bountiful feast with family and friends. And while I sat enjoying the moment an uneasy disquietude began to slowly seep into my consciousness, disrupting my otherwise pleasant musings.

There is nothing wrong with having enough or even plenty, just so long as we recognize that there are those who have little or nothing at all, and do something, anything, to share our abundance with those in need. Jesus always looked with love and charity toward those who found themselves in need, recognizing that poverty will never be completely eradicated from the human condition. It is incumbent upon all who have much to help those who have little. Give thanks to God by giving what you can to those in need. Thanks be to God.



Off Angels’ Wings

Remnants of a recent snow,
ragged blankets still lay covering,
(earth now dreaming pleasant memories)
breathe cold and whispered vapors
that waft upon the silent, bracing breeze,
and speak of life beyond the dead of winter.

The fire that burns within, repels
the uninvited grip of winter’s death;
and darkness demands unwelcome audience
with the Light which by its nature does deny
entrance to the shadows that are want to fill
the soul with dread and raw despair.

Spirits dance among the embers,
echoes of once twinkling laughter,
reflections of lives joined together,
loomed with thread so tightly woven,
measured bonds from lamps undimmed,
bent in gratitude for gifts bestowed.

Ghosts of what well might have been,
resurrected tales of deeds profound,
sins long denied and unremembered
add substance with such fond affection
to the gilded  idol, admired and savored,
consumed in sacrifice to the grateful bowed.

The bell that tolls with every hour
marks the unrelenting beat that tramples
through long forgot, forsaken tenements,
where denizens reside in hopeless squalor
pummeled by the frigid force of winter’s breath
that blows through open sores of lost regret.

The flickering light off angels’ wings
purchase what flames in darkness prove:
dark a barren handmaid, light its master.
Rare do angels tread upon dark and ebon shores,
yet know the smallest light shone fully
upon a stranger will illumine no other than

The Face of God.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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