Friday, January 4, 2008

At arms length for the New Year

Grace and greetings.

I think I am starting to get into the Christmas spirit of things, now that Christmas was almost two weeks ago. I guess for me, what else is new? But a thought has come to me, or actually to several other people who have made similar comments about the Christmas season and the nativity scenes. One friend wrote in his family Christmas letter:

"The small sign next to the creche said, 'Set donated by _____. Please do not touch' I completely understand the 'do not touch' ideas as I think of my darling children and the destructive path they can leave behind. At the same time, I thought this little sign was odd and it struck my heart to the core. I briefly laughed in my head about the idea the sign was saying, 'Stay away from the Baby Jesus. Put the baby down and step away slowly!"I saw it as a symbol of the whole tension in Christmas. We spend money, decorate, and put on the airs for all seeking to perfect the picture. We create our fragile ceramic figures of Christmas--while asking those around 'Please do not touch.' We hold people at arms length. We hold Christmas meaning and the birth of the baby at arms length-afraid to touch. We get caught up in the symbols instead of the relationships and the love."

Just before we received Chadron's letter, a group of ministers on line were commenting on how the baby Jesus' were having to be bolted down in their creches or they walk off on their own. How do we receive the birth of Christ in our midst? Do we really let the birth renew us and our spirits, or is it just all for the "good feelings" and show?

What does it mean to bolt down Jesus in our lives? Is our faith allowed to grow up just as Jesus did, from the baby to the adult who walks out of the tomb? Or for the sake of comfort and understanding, do we bolt down our faith and not move spiritually within our lives?

My prayer is that we are able to experience the rebirth of Christ in each and every one of our hearts, being able to witness the Divine in all of us as we walk and grow in our daily lives. Do not hold each other at arms length, but try to embrace each other in the name of our Living God.

Peace and blessings for this New Year.

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