The days are getting longer. Unnoticed by us the light is increasing day by day. In this Christmastide let us reorient ourselves by turning towards the light.
Our Lord commanded us to be “wise as serpents but innocent as doves.” No doubt we have gotten the serpents’ part down. Our news is filled with a repetition of all that is wrong and all that we must fear. This is especially true on this day of the Feast of the Holy Innocents—the day King Herod ordered all the males under two to be rounded up and slaughtered. Yes, it’s important to keep a healthy awareness of the ramifications of sin.
However, we live too much in the serpent land of skepticism and cynicism and need to move to the land of the doves—of innocence and wonder and hope. Let’s remember that after the magi saw the child and stood in the light, “they went home a different way.”
It’s too easy to despair or to make our world smaller out of fear. If we lock our doors and close our lives, we will never get to the place of the new birth that is also a new beginning for everyone. Christ is born in all people—and all means all. Everyone goes home a different way because the world is finally turned rightside up. God is distant from us but in this world—closer than our own breath.
Regardless of the news, we are called to base our hope and our lives on the conviction that the Word has become flesh in us—in this world—closer than our own breath. The pilgrimage we must make is not to Assisi or Iona, but to the holiness in each of us regardless of how scary the headlines are or how unworthy we may feel. That means we all get to start over—Roy Cooper and Pat McCrory/ Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The new birth isn’t about an event two thousand years ago but is happening now. It’s the wonderful part about being born in a stable---there are no doors. It’s open season for grace and it’s free.
The world has always been filled with darkness and light. However, we become what we attend to. In Jesus’ days, it would have been the smart thing to pay attention to the decrees from Herod—to hunker down and play it safe. But the Lord calls us to follow the light; to find the Christ, and to take a new way to a home that is bigger than we are comfortable with. Because this new birth is too big for definitions of Left/Right. The Word has become flesh everywhere in everyone. We are all invited to take a different road.
In this bleak midwinter, let’s do more than look to the stars. Let us let the light inside us, so that through us God might make the world new.