Okay, here comes Christmas! Life is flying forward in fast motion and it’s time for the tree the gifts the cookies the caroling! If you’re on Facebook at all – and I assume you are or you wouldn’t be reading this – I'm sure you've been inundated with holiday posts, everything from the holy rollers to the folks from Walmart.
I’m going to try to limit my Christmas posts, I promise. But I wanted to share this with you, and, fair warning for those of you who are nonbelievers – this might actually get a tad religious.
I think that belief is more about reaching than anything else, no? That stretch of the mind towards another plateau. This is a good season for reaching. And in doing so I stumbled across the really unique view of Christmas as a subversive holiday.
(This frame of mind comes to us from the brilliant teachings of Father Barron – he’s all over Youtube, people, and he’s wonderful.)
So, Christmas. Peace, joy, love – subversion, really?
But I love this idea.
Consider this – the Gospel of Luke tells of the shepherds tending their flock by night, how the angels appeared with their message of hope. We tend to think of angels as benign creatures, winged and wreathed in smiles, bathed in light. But no, pay attention. The angel’s first words were “Be not afraid,” which would indicate a real fear on the part of the shepherds. Well, the sky was lit up, strange beings were talking to them. And lets face it, they were simple men, so, perhaps, even “gibbering terror” would be an apt description of their reaction? It gets better! The first angel was then followed by a “host” of angels. Again, we picture song and light. But the Greek word is “stratos” and that word means army. So we have an army of angels. A triumphant army with a message.
The King has come.
I’ve heard it a thousand times. We all have. But this stops me in my tracks. That baby was here with a purpose, and that was, yes, to subvert. The message of love is painful, hard fought for, not easily gained; and it began at that moment with the angels shouting a victory into the boundless night sky over Bethlehem .
We’re meant, I believe, to think about that, at least a little, during the mad rush of the season, in between the Festival of Lights and the cookie bake-offs.
We’re meant to reach.
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