Nativity Homily...

Winter has just barely begun and I’m already feeling washed out and snowed under. My clothes smell like snowblower and the cold has settled into my bones. When I was a child this all was part of the fun, the snow, the season, the anticipation, and the ambience of it all. All I can say is that I’m not a child anymore.

The world and I have aged and grown cynical together, buried in the details, counting the cost, worried about the future. It’s the great sorrow of growing older; you can stay up as late as you want and buy a car with your signature but you learn too much as well: Too much about life, too much about the reality of the human condition, too much about how things really are, too much about yourself.

Early on we learn to pretend, talking about life, where we are, who we are, and everything else with the practiced happiness that comes when we get a really bad sweater for Christmas. We do our part to keep up appearances and take one for the team all the while hoping that somewhere along the line we get a taste of the real thing, a moment or two when we are who were supposed to be, when the joy is real, and our hearts are alive.

Such is life in the frosty white broken world of these times. The sad truth is that its been that way since the first swallow of Eden’s fruit. We who were born to shine like the sun have few moments when we live as we were intended; the joyful creation of the maker of the universe. More often we pass through life as a mixture of thoughts, actions, hopes, dreams, struggle, and the nagging sense there is more just beyond our grasp.

And I want it back, that kind of primal innocence, the sense of meaning in the world, the joy of life. I want to possess what has always seemed to elude me. I desire to be somewhere in time before trees and snakes and walk with my Maker in the cool of a summer night. I’m weary of my brokenness. I tire of my frailty. I am exhausted by the restlessness of my spirit.

I must travel, not in the wanderings of life carried by the winds of fate, but directly, with intention, with perseverance, undistracted. No matter how the world as it is shouts at me, discourages me, or attempts to turn me to this side or that I must follow that star and travel straight on until morning. I must see Bethlehem in my heart and when I get there I will stand with the shepherds and see this great thing, this birth, this Christ that has come into a cold dark world so that nothing, and no one, will ever be the same again.

Then I will rest for as long as it takes, forever even, and my soul will be quiet, my innocence returned, and my heart released to live where no winter, of body or soul, can ever settle and the child I was meant to be fills even the oldest frame.

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