Friday, October 3, 2008

Merry Christmas (December 27 2007)

Well, Christmas is past us. I hope each of you enjoyed the celebration of the Word incarnate. Such an amazing thing isn't it: The Word became flesh. I experienced Christmas very differently this year than before. Each year during Christmas mass our the blessing at the meal I have this wonderful experience in which I seem to feel steeped in the meaning of Christmas. I contemplate the meaning of Christmas: God becoming man for our salvation. What is smallest is greatest in the eyes of God. The smallness of the Child, no room in the Inn. I can think about it, feel it, let it overwhelm me.
This year I did not have the oportunity for the mystery to overwhelm me. Yes, we did read our little baby, too young to understand, the story of Christmas from the bible. Yes, we did go to Midnight mass. But half exhausted by a little one that refuses to sleep before 2 am for weeks and still wakes three times during the night, what overwhelmed me was fatigue and misery instead of mystery when Joseph decided to celebrate the coming of our Lord with a screaming fit that did not end until mommy or daddy carried him into the aisle to the back and kept walking him there. After we went back sitting, the screaming fit resumed.
I will admit honestly that I felt dissapointed. Was this my Christmas this year? Where was the spiritual experience? Where was the wonderful mystery. Slowly it is dawning however that this reality is part of the mystery. God becoming man, central to our Faith is not just a cerebral exercise. It is messy, it is afterbirth, it is poverty and refugees, it is sweat and tears and dissapointment, ending on a cross, without every losing love.
This isn't a magical solution. I still feel tired and there are still days that I wonder why this baby does not seem able to give mommy just an hour of quiet to do something. But I try to remember, as my priest said, that my life now is a prayer, even when I do not find the beautiful words to express it.

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