Now For 25 Days Of Grueling Emptiness

Do you hear them too…? Those prayers in the air from a million million hearts, each entreaty addressed to what or who they hope will answer them during this sacred time of year.

Most of these prayers are asking for something — health, wealth, fame, or perhaps just a break. A few of them are prayers of thanks — usually from those hearts who have come to understand they already have more than they need. The rest are simply the god-help-me sighs that come with habit.

Here’s the point.

In an age when Black Fridays and Going-Out-Of-Business sales intoxicate our pleasure points, we intuitively reach out for something, anything, that might fill the hole. Fill that niggling little emptiness that stirs inside us, even as we walk to the beat of the most joyous time of year.

True, it’s hard to “see” emptiness. It’s probably even presumptuous to assume it when everything about us is crackling with ribbons and lights, bursting with gifts and good cheer. After all, it’s a time when even bosses and taxi drivers have a smile for us.

And yet.

If you take the time to excavate the emptiness out there, look no further than the faces of the shoppers catching their breath between cash-register lines…the slouch of the corner Santa between well-intentioned Ho-Ho’s….or the eyes of your fellow commuters at the end of another day which despite the calendar was just another day.

If nature abhors a vacuum, so do we our emptiness. It’s a feeling all the more stinging when it comes during a time when we are supposed to be over-flowing. I mean isn’t that what the cards and carols and services all tell us to be?

For those who try to ignore the emptiness, there are plenty of holiday distractions. But for those who need to confront it, prayers come naturally. To what or to whom isn’t the issue here. The issue is simply this — people still pray, because each year-end people still believe there is something more to all this than just them.

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