It is Christmas morning and outside my study, a frigid 12 degrees F at 5:30 in the morning. The river valley beyond my home’s hilltop perch is dark. The ground out front is the gray white of an aged man’s beard.
The sermon in last night’s Christmas Eve mass was about grace and in particular, the calm and the peace that comes with Christmas. Ever the fly fisherman, the topic carried over into a deep night’s sleep and since way too early this morn, has begged for release.
I am certainly no theologian and don’t intend on exploring the subject in any scholarly way, but to me, grace is early morning on a river, the hope and wonder that greets and implores, the chill that makes me feel alive, the sight of an eagle soaring high overhead, the soothing sounds of rushing water, and ultimately, the wonder that revolves in my head asking the high above, “how could I be so lucky”.
Just to be on the water is grace – to feel the head-shake of a good fish, the surge of power in a rainbow’s run, the leap for freedom the smallmouth makes with the first feel of the hook…
… and to wade out of the river with the sun on one’s back, to walk the mile back through the deep woods, to cross fields of soft grass – to end the day in peace – this too, is grace.
This Christmas I pray that I never forget the grace that falls gently on my life.