The Word became flesh and blood,John 1:14 (The Message)
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.
Advent, which ended last night, is the season in which we learn to be patient. We don’t like waiting. We hate the simple waits, like long lines in the store or traffic or packages to arrive. We hate the bigger waiting. When will the world be made right? When will the injustice be rectified? When will children’s thirst be quenched instead of dying of dehydration at borders? In our current politic climate, the promise of peace seems distant and unattainable, outside the reach of our waiting.
Advent is the season in which we learn to recognize the mystery of our human journey and confront, in holy waiting, its complexities. Today, as we begin the wondrous season of Christmas, we begin the process again of learning that God walks with us in that journey of expectation. The story of Christmas isn’t so much about a baby or a manger or shepherds or angels, though it is all those things. The story of Christmas is about the divine sustainer of the cosmos robing in human flesh in the most vulnerable and innocent way to experience what it’s like to do things like wait and hope, even in frustration.
Lest we fall victim to cynicism in our reflection, we should remember that our journey through the wastelands of the earth is marked with moments of stunning beauty. I often wonder how newborns see the world as their eyes begin to flutter open, their mouths and hands grasping for their mother in unfiltered trust. I recently read an author who described babies as thinking, not in words, but in feelings. They think in feelings of trust, love, and acceptance.
Dear friends, imagine God innocently swaddled in Mary’s arms thinking not of the complexities of divine existence or the tragedies of the world, but simply and gently grasping Mary’s finger and feeling pure trust and love and acceptance. Christmas is the season in which we learn that God not only loves and accepts us, but also trusts us. And in this profound trust, we are given a great gift: the ability to do good. As Jesus grasps Mary’s finger, Mary responds in motherly affection and joy.
So, you’ve waited. The Advent season of waiting has now given way to the Christmas season of light, a season of wonder and beauty. You’ve thought about the world and its tragedies as you’ve confessed and lamented during Advent. During the 12 days of Christmas, revel in God enfleshed and what that means for the world. How will you act upon God’s pure and profound trust in humanity? What good will you do, and what love will you extend? How will you accept the pure loving hand of God, eyes filled with wonder and a heart bursting with love, and give back in simple affection and joy?
May the peace of Christ be with you in your journey,