Jesus came as an infant, as we all do. In the world today children are born into situations that are truly horrendous and not just in poor countries. In countries where there is a strong family tradition the life of a child will probably be better than in those countries where the family is breaking down. We also live in a world where the human fetus has no rights, and there are few who defend them.
Jesus and his family had to flee for their lives, just as today the world is full of refugees who seek safety from oppressive governments and in some areas, war-lords. Just as in Jesus time, the world was a cruel and hard place, nothing much has changed.
We do have the notion of ‘human rights’ in some parts of the world, but often it is lip service only. Though the very fact that the concept is wide spread is a cause for hope for all of us, that perhaps one day this will act as a leaven that will spread and become deeply rooted in our humanity and not be just a nice sounding abstraction that has little influence on mankind.
I was praying this evening in our church here. I use beads a lot, it allows me slow down, center, and be in God presence. It is in these moments when experiences, images and emotions arise that allow me to see how primitive and violent I could be without the influence of God’s grace in my heart. The roots of these images go way back, before I was four, so they are irrational, based on fear, and need to be addressed in a loving and compassionate manner. I do not an anyway think my inner experiences are unique, but actually widespread and a cause of a great deal of suffering for those who seek to become loving human beings.
The more anyone seeks to become loving. Or to follow Christ Jesus on a deeper level, or for that manner, anyone, who seeks to become a simple decent human being, set themselves up for inner struggle. A battle that last a life time, for to be free of the slavery of evil, is not a cosmic process, but a journey of the heart that each human being must traverse I believe.
Jesus was an infant, helpless before evil, and he was sought after, and in the end he lost. Yet did he? No. He rose from the dead, showing us that things are not what they seem, that love, openness to grace, and loving others is not an act of weakness, but is in reality stronger than death.
Our cultures are mirrors’ of our inner world I believe. That is why there is both good and evil, integration and chaos that stand side by side and war against one another. Often true, in hidden ways, but there none the less this on going struggle for our souls as well as the soul of a culture.
My heart is broken, shattered, fearful and angry, yet as I walk my path of faith in God, there is a slow healing that takes place, that allows the cycle of pain and yes sin to lessen as time goes on.
So Christmas is a time to reflect on the Christ Child, not in a sentimental way, though that can be nice as well, but in the reality that love, joy, and the compassion of God will in the end triumph.
“Dear Children, Let us love one another”
(1 John 3:18)