Christmas is almost here and rather than fretting last minute gifts, I am mulling the miracle of divine birth. A miracle that the world – when it looks at it at all – sees as a re-enactment of the nativity which is in and of itself a lovely story. Christmas pagents in Christian churches cast adorable children in the roles of the holy family and onlookers appreciate the nativity story anew. I wonder if there aren’t more profound ways to enter the nativity as a participant rather than an onlooker.
A divine gift of love, light, hope, joy and peace arrives in the form of an infant who ruptures all previous understandings of the human relationship to the Creator and invites us into an experience of divine love and co-creation unlike anything we expected or might imagine. Perhaps we are meant to hold this, enter this much more openly, personally and deeply. What if the true meaning of Christmas is to be aware of what G*d is birthing in us? Do we recognize that there are gifts waiting to be given and received in and through us that only we, as a unique creation, can offer? Can we allow Christmas to enter our hearts and give birth to the unique and divine possibilities that evolve? Teilhard de Chardin invites us to look at it from this perspective in this beautiful prayer which seems perfect for entering the mystery of the deeper meaning of Christmas;
“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—and that it may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you; your ideas mature gradually—let them grow, let them shape themselves, without undue haste. Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstance acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.”