This beautiful painting by RC Gorman has been on my prayer shelf this year. The usual interpretation is that she is sending a message, whispered to the dove, into the world. But each morning I sit before it with my coffee and ponder the grace with which this young Native American woman is letting go. Sometimes I stretch my arms with her to help myself surrender to the restrictions of the pandemic, the year’s hard look at (my) racism, and the loss of family, friends, health, and companionship that so many have endured this year.
I am aware as well, that if the dove were facing her, the same gesture would be one of reaching towards and receiving a gift. And so we can reach out in this season of gift at the end of the year. Letting go of 2020 and its losses, stretching to receive the spirit of peace and new life that is coming to us always in Immanuel – God with us. And coming to us in the joy and insight of the children with whom we work (even on Zoom).
May the gift of letting go, and the gift of receiving, be yours as you celebrate Christmas, 2020, and welcome the possibilities of 2021.