Let’s start with a quote from the theologian, Alan Jones:
There are only two feelings. Love and fear.There are only two languages. Love and fear.
There are only two activities. Love and fear.There are only two motives, two procedures, two frameworks, two results.
Love and fear. Love and fear.
It’s no surprise that we live too much in the house of fear. We are afraid of what is happening in our country and in our world. As a world we have become more afraid of others. And amazingly enough, more and more people have become afraid of our collective future. Fewer people believe the world will be better for their children.
Yet here we are six days from Christmas. I wonder if we have forgotten the story we are celebrating. 2,000 years ago, there was a world of fear. Let’s remember that soon after Christmas is the Feast of the Holy Innocents when the King slaughtered the male babies to make sure no rival was coming along from that generation. Fear is not new; it’s as old as time.
But equally old is the pull of love to move us out from our place of being stuck so that we might find new life. I don’t think anyone wanted to go to Bethlehem. We know Mary and Joseph didn’t and why would the Magi? No, each was pulled because the force of love is stronger than fear. And what happened that first Christmas was that love bound people together into a new community and the Spirit then sent them all on a new mission. Remember the Magi go home “a different way.”
Therefore, in these last days of Advent our task is to listen to where God is calling for us to go in order to witness God’s birth in us and in the world. That journey may be—will probably be—more internal than external. What’s the most unlikely place you can think of to witness God being born? Can you allow yourself at least in your heart and imagination to go there? Maybe it’s the Trump estate in Mar-a Largo. Maybe it’s in California with Nancy Pelosi. Maybe it’s on the Mexican border with men and women seeking their way across. Or maybe it’s on Wall Street with all the hedge fund managers.
If we are to be part of God’s making the world new, we must move our hearts and make room for the other. The gift we lay down is our preconception of who is holy and who is sinful—of who is enlightened and who is misguided if not destructive. We pray for the ability to see Christ born there—in us and in those other people---so that we all might go home a new way. This is our Christmas task. It’s not about Santa. It’s about the world being made new.