It’s Christmas Eve. Finally. Advent was hell. Oh, you know…alcoholic mind, woman/child of trauma, insecure, afraid, reticent, shame, hopelessness…the usual. I hate admitting this because I’m a priest. I admit it because I’m a priest.
I forget all the time that everything is connected. That how I am feeling, what I’m thinking and the circumstance in my life are all connected. I forget that there are no accidents and that during an incredibly dark period where my mind was winning the race over my heart, where after 3 weeks in the pit I just had to keep telling myself to not do anything rash like drive to Mexico and drink a gallon of tequila, that everything was going to be alright. Welcome to Advent. Oh, I lit the candles of hope, love, joy and peace, but I was feeling nothing but hopelessness, fear, sadness and defeat.
The readings for Sunday morning for the first 3 Sundays of Advent are jarring. John, the Baptist, in that super itchy camel hair cloak and eating that shitty food, locusts and wild honey, (I’m sure the honey made the locusts edible), standing on the shore proclaiming salvation for all who gave themselves to be washed clean by the waters of the Jordan. Convicting those who forgot their Bible said feed the hungry, help the orphan and care for the widow.
I wrote an inventory at the urging of my sponsor, and sat down for two hours and spilled my mess in her out stretched palms. She held it, I cried, she nudged, I dug deeper. She loved me and I cried some more. Hope, love, joy and peace crept into the space where my heart broke open.
Then yesterday in church, the last Sunday of Advent, we read about Mary singing her song of redemption, hope, glory, promise and mercy, to her cousin, Elizabeth, John’s mom. Mary, this little girl, unmarried, unimportant, unsuspecting, whom God has chosen to gestate, birth and bring into the world the savior; the one who will reconcile us all to God. The one who will teach us all how to be love and compassion in the world. Mary’s story was the one I heard.
God has chosen me, too. And you. God has chosen us all, to bring to the world all the love, compassion and creativity we can muster. The darkness can’t stay dark forever because just around the corner is light, waiting to be born.
For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among human kind.” Luke 2:11-14 NRSV