Waiting to be born again
Christmas is a strange season. When you’re a child, it is a season of presents. When you’re young, it’s a season of parties. When you have a home, it’s a season of preparations. But when you get older, Christmas changes color dramatically. Suddenly, out from behind the advertisements and big dinners, through the haze of old carols and soft candles, past the dazzling altars and sumptuous crib scenes, we begin to see what Christmas is really all about. Christmas is about finding life where we do not expect life to be.
Every year of life waxes and wanes. Every stage of life comes and goes. Every facet of life is born and then dies. Every good moment is doomed to become only a memory. Every perfect period of living slips through our fingers and disappears. Every hope dims and every possibility turns eventually to dry clay. Until Christmas comes again. Then we are called at the deepest, most subconscious, least cognizant level to begin once more to live newly again.
Christmas brings us all back to the crib of life to start over: aware of what has gone before, conscious that nothing can last, but full of hope that this time, finally, we can learn what it takes to live well, grow to full stature of soul and spirit, get it right.
There is a child in each of us waiting to be born again. It is to those looking for life that the figure of the Christ, a child, beckons. Christmas can be full of new possibility always, for those who are agitated with newness, whatever their age. Life is for the living, for those in whom Christmas is a feast without finish, a celebration of the constancy of change, a call to begin once more the journey to human joy and holy meaning.
Let the soldiers stomp through life. Let the cold winds blow. Let the birth points of all of our lives be drowned in obscurity. Let the days seem mundane and fruitless. The manger in Bethlehem, cold, dark, small, worn down by years of discovery, justifies them all. Jesus has been here before us. Bring on the days of our lives. We have a God who has already walked them and found them holy-making.
—from In Search of Belief by Joan Chittister (Liguori Publications)