A Christmas Mystery

High atop a nearby golf course, I walked with family. One day after Christmas, the grass had a powdered sugar coating of snow that gleamed in the winter sun. Out of nowhere, a tiny bird flitted across our path and perched on a bush. Most birds migrate from Maine; those that remain are familiar and few. This bird in the bush was a stranger to me. Upon close scrutiny I identified it as a golden-crowned kinglet, considered by ornithologists to be the world’s smallest perching bird, weighing in at five grams …the size of two pennies

Naturalists have studied the kinglet for decades, baffled by its ability to survive ice  and snow, defying the maxim that only larger animals can generate enough body heat to stay alive. Award-winning author Bernd Heinrich wrote of his fascination with this mysterious bird. “Its diminutive size and presumed diet of insects, when insects are hidden and in hibernation, combined to produce an unsolved mystery.”

As I read this reflection by Heinrich, it affirmed for me the transcendent nature of our world. In this season of Christmas, we rejoice in the ultimate mystery. God became man and dwelt among us. In this new year that lies before us, I will continue to look for small graces, God’s hand in my life, and be ever grateful, even for a tiny woodland bird that flies across my path.

11 thoughts on “A Christmas Mystery

  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful reflection. It inspires me to look for the small and large graces in my life Daily Mass, Eucharistic Communion, Eucharistic Adoration. These are the big graces. And the little ones–the joy of playing the organ, of being in the Community, of being able to walk and talk and smile. I could go on & on, forever. Amen.

  2. As a birdwatcher with a daughter deep this year into her studies of Whitman and Alcott (and Hawthorne, though he had some problems with the movement), I appreciate this line especially: “the transcendent nature of our world.” Thanks for sharing this beautiful reflection!

  3. Dear Kathryn

    Thank you for your beautiful words.
    I read your post in my Magnificat this morning and will now follow your writings with joy and Thanksgiving. May I ask who the artist is and title of the nativity pictured here.
    Greatly appreciate you and your gift.
    God Bless
    Mary

  4. I am pleased that you enjoyed the Magnificat essay.. You will be glad to know that my grandson turned seven this week and is happy and well. As for the painting, I found it on social media and there was no identification with it.

  5. I have just subscribed to your blog. Am wondering if your children’s book are suitable for a soon to be 3 year old who loves books?

    • Hello Sue,

      Many readers find that Heavenly Hosts makes a great read aloud for their younger children. The stories are short with one pen and ink illustration per story. Your child might be a little young…it depends on the child. Advocates for reading aloud encourage parents to read to younger children while they play with their toys, even if the book is above their level.
      Thanks for subscribing!

      Peace and All Good,

      Kathryn

  6. How does one become a secular Franciscan? I am feeling call to this order. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Read your essay my Magnificat and truly enjoyed it. Take care and God bless.

    • The first step would be to go to the secularfranciscans.usa.org and find a local fraternity.You could speak to the minister of the fraternity who will help you.

      Peace and All Good,

      Kathryn

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