This Week at Trinity, Beamsville
Friday, December 17, 2021
This week had me turning the television to a very different kind of channel. I should amend that to say my iPad, as I’m not often in front of the big screen, and usually multi-tasking with a program on for sound more than visual, but the same principle applies. So, there I was, looking for something to watch, processing a day of accepting hard things. From accompanying family to medical appointments, to hearing more rejections of pandemic science, to just ‘things that pile up in one of those days’, I was starting to need a break from people in general. It happens occasionally. About mid-afternoon that day, I’d messaged Michael to say, “I think I’m done with humans for today, and it’s only 2:05pm.” Is it any wonder that the quest for something to watch became the ever-reliable fireplace channel? Just crackling sounds of warmth and comfort, with quiet Christmas melodies in the background… and my shoulders started to drop, log by burning log. And then the next day was a bit better, and on it goes.
I started to think more deeply that next day, about that glib email requesting a break from humanity. I asked myself what it must be like for God to bear with a global population, and still show up in and with Love. I can’t grasp it properly. I know I’m not expected to; it’s that whole divine/human difference we’re not set up to hold entirely. What I wonder, though, is if that question can stay with me, and reframe my weariness, in a season (liturgically and socially) where so many are stretched beyond capacity. That wonder has become a prayer now, asking God to help me see and speak, respond and react, or not react, with the full presence of my own humanity. If I’m worn thin, probably the same is true for most folks I’m encountering. And, how much more is that necessary and true for chance interaction with folks I don’t know at all? I can’t even fathom where they’ve been and what they’re carrying – but I genuinely pray they might have a glimpse that God does; that God’s Holy Love sees them, carries them, and sustains them, in ways beyond human articulation.
None of the above feels very Christmas-y at all, and I’m so aware that this is the last Friday musing before Christmas Eve. Yet here we are, on the edge of this season, needing more than ever, it seems, reminders that we’re all on some kind of emotional precipice – known publicly or otherwise. Here we are, on the edge of this season where God chooses to say, again and again, year after blessed and complicated year, that we are worth the risk of God’s presence on earth. At 2:05 and 6:55 and 11:25 and all times, in all ways, God says, in that storied stable of Bethlehem, that we are worth the risk.
May I never, ever tire of saying that, to you and to all the world.
With Advent love to you all,
“When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth.
And by a comet the sky is torn
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.” (Madeleine L’Engle, “The Risk of Birth”)