Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

A Christmas Blessing

This blessing dances at the doorway
of light and dark, knows both as sacred:
fertile womb space, miracle of blooming.

This blessing breathes
through those moments of labor
when you too birth the holy
into this fragile, luminous, hurting world

as Mary did two thousand years ago,
eyes wide, hands gripping,
waters breaking like crashing waves
of the primordial sea
sending a prayer through time
that echoes still,
pulsing like starlight
in an enormous sky.

This blessing rests a hand
on the back of the lonely
to say your humanity is not an obstacle
but a threshold, to remind you
that the wound is a portal
through which your gifts pour forth,
that raw ache you feel
is the terrible wonder of being alive
calling you into a communion
of veil-lifters, catching glimpses
of a world where the greeds
and horrors are turned upside down.

This blessing comes as an Annunciation:
the world needs *you* wild edge-dweller
where the wind cries out,
where the stone endures,

your hands a bowl,
your heart a cave,
your eyes a mirror,
bringing a drink of water,
an ancient song,
a shimmering light
reflecting all that we miss
in days of rushing.

This blessing creates a resting place
to gather your strength
between the diastole and systole
of the heart,
to learn to trust
in roses and pomegranate,
in sparrows and dragonflies,
in the electricity of the storm.

This blessing says:
know this birthing is not
once and for all
but again and again,
erupting like moonlight between
bare branches,
like a hearth fire lit for
all who have been exiled.
This blessing calls you home.

with love from Christine Valters Paintner
online Abbess at

Here is a PDF version:

You might also enjoy

Monk in the World Guest Post: Kate Kennington Steer

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to our Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Kate Kennington Steer’s reflection Heart of Stone. I arrived at February 2023 in a post-viral fatigue fug, feeling beset by depression, with

Read More »

Soul of a Pilgrim Video Podcast Day 2

Blessing for Packing Lightly*Winnowing God, you ask us to release, let go, surrender, and yield all that we canin service of making space for what is most essential. The more we set aside that which burdens us and takes up too much spacethe more room

Read More »

Monk in the World Guest Post: Mary Camille Thomas

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to our Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Mary Camille Thomas’s reflection Sitting in Paradise. “Sit in your cell as in paradise,” St. Romuald says in his brief rule for

Read More »