Monday, December 10, 2012

To...Bethlehem...Or Not...To...Bethlehem...???

I recently met a very excited young couple. The reason for the excitement? They were thrilled to inform me that their expectant child is to be born on Christmas Eve. Wow!!! What a gift, for them and for all those who will be participate in that wonder-full event. Each and every birth are moments full of awe, full of mystery. Over these many years I have spoken with many of those special people whose vocation is to assist at births. They have spoken of how each birth is such a unique experience for them. There is a newness about each birth. Why and why not? Each new birth is the emergence of God in a new and different reality. Each child is a mystery. A mystery never to be solved, always to be revered. This new mysterious presence is, the incarnation of the love of mom and dad, and a new manifestation of the God, who is, Love. Each child then, and consequently each one of us, continues The Mystery of The Incarnation. The Mystery, whose reality we are preparing ourselves to celebrate. Preparation is a necessary prerequisite when dealing with the appearance of new life. As it was, so it is ,and ever shall be. The young couple, and their families, are making serious preparations for the coming birth. Their hard work, is a labor of love. Nothing will be left to chance. They have been blessed with the knowledge of the approximate time of this child's appearance. They will not be caught unaware. (Note I have said, "approximate time". New babies have no idea of what time is all about. That burden will be imposed on them at a later date. How blessed are those children not confined with the tyranny of time. How really free, they are. How blessed, their lives.) This begs the question, what form are our preparations taking, so that we will be prepared for The Birth, that is to come. Each year is a new birthing, so each year, we must be prepared anew. Preparation is essential, so that The Birth, which gives infinite meaning to all subsequent births, may not pass us by, unrecognized, and consequently, not celebrated. In the event we choose not to prepare to celebrate, we will slowly loose our reverence for the mystery our life is. We are being exposed to the callous way persons and their life are treated. Left to our own devices, we will slowly loose our connection with The Source, Who gives real meaning to all life. Because of the pain that we are in, we do not think in a healthy manner. All sorts of dysfunction appears. We will strike out at everyone, and everything. We will even go so far as to blame people, places, situations, and even God, for what our inaction brings on us. It is so much easier to blame others, rather than look inside and take responsibility for what is really our own doing. Real growth begins when we stop playing the blame game and grow up. This is a sign we are on the way to growing up, we are taking responsibility for our actions. I did not like to be confronted with that fact. I did not like being in the position where I had nobody to blame, only myself. I had to grow up, and take responsibility. This process of taking responsibility is a life-long challenge. I still like to play blame game, but I am not able to get away with it. Working on becoming healthy has its disadvantages. Honesty can be a real pain. Who really wants to grow up. It is so much fun in being the "puer aeternus". Becoming the "senex" is tough work. There is a lot of death, and resurrections. It takes one deep inside to face the darkness, and beyond that the life giving Light. This is the Year of Faith. A year we are asked to journey anew in the depths of our faith, so as to discover, hidden treasure. Hidden treasures that up to now have been stashed away in the darkness of our depths. It takes reckless courage, (Yeats), a gift of grace, to make that journey. What is discovered is not for ourselves, it is to be shared. It is to be shared so that others may be blessed with the desire to go deep as well. We, in one sense, become beacons of light. This light radiates from within the actions of our daily lives. These actions speak words of encouragement, peace, kindness, mercy, tenderness, compassion, and mutual respect to a world in deep need for such empowering gifts. These gifts empower us to grow in the acceptance of what it means to be human. It also awakens the desire that others may grow into that same gift. The more we become at home within our humanity, the more ready we are to accept the true dignity of who we have been chosen to be. We will more readily accept the dignity inherent of all human beings. This inherent dignity is that The Infinite God, has chosen each and every person to be an essential part of His continuous creation. The Incarnation, creation, continues through each and every so called ordinary, daily action. In our God's world, there is no ordinary. In God's creation, everything is an original. It may appear to be ordinary, but the x-ray eye of faith tells us different. Our inner dignity can only be discovered through inner reflection. In the process of reflection we will come face to face with not only that which brings us peace and joy. It also forces us to face the unacceptable, the unloveable, those parts we recoil from, as we would an enemy. We must not shy away from this so uncomfortable reality. Why? Simply put, but very disturbing, this is our Bethlehem in 2012. This is where the Savior of our deepest weaknesses will be revealed. The weaknesses and brokenness of this year are new and different, are they not? It stands to reason then that our conscious decision to embrace The Savior must be both new and different. We have never journeyed to this Bethlehem, so a new and different understanding of what it means to have a Savior awaits us. We have to make that journey. It cannot be done for us. We are responsible for the individual journey to, encounter. In the celebration of the encounter with The Mystery, we discover we are not alone. All our fellow human beings are on the same quest. May This Year of Faith encourage a deeper appreciation of the knowledge and wisdom that comes to us from the enfleshment of The Infinite One. May His humble, earthly beginnings lead us to a healthy, comforting ,real-life giving relationships. Beginning with ourselves, may we discover, through our reflection on who this Vulnerable newborn Child, a sense that our vulnerability is not to be shunned, but embraced. This embrace will allow us to discover this strange, stunning, and subversive truth. A truth The Incarnate God came to reveal. It is within the embrace of the un-embraceable, unacceptable an indescribable power, which up to now was, unknown is now released within us. Into the darkness of our night, Light has shone, and.........."