For me kind Jesus was Thy incarnation
I am sitting next to Asa and we are watching The First Noel movie. Though for kids, I tear up everytime. The movie does a beautiful job of making children feel included in the story, in the birth, of Jesus. And I feel like a child again, as I am finding, after a year of searching, of stumbling, a new awareness of my identity in the story, the lineage of Jesus.
On Saturday, Seth and I went to our friend Sister Walburga’s Advent retreat at the Abbey. She talked about praying the Lord’s prayer. I can’t remember how many times I cried during that talk, but it happened nearly everytime she mentioned Heaven. I think of that (perhaps outdated) Conor Oberst lyric, “why are you scared to dream of God, when it’s salvation that you want?” and I realize that’s been my reality up until this past year. Afraid to question, truly, completely, the Creator of the Universe. Did I believe He was real? No, Not really. How could He be? This sometimes feels like a betrayal of my past, after all, I grew up in the church, I sang in worship bands, I went to small groups, but during my college years I became completely apathetic towards God. Marriage helped–I believed but didn’t do much about it. My foundation was still kind of shaky and certainly not personal. Then Augie came and my ambivalence came to a head. I didn’t even want to pretend to pray.
Sister Walburga mentioned a book about a girl (can’t remember the reference) who was raised as an atheist. She looked at a fossil and realized that’s all she would ever hope to become. She then had a child, the catalyst for transformation. I completely identified as after Augie’s birth, scared out of my mind, angry to tears, overwhelmed by the meaninglessness,I yearned for there to be a God I could trust and believe in, if not for me, for my children.
14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me.”
15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
God honored my cry. Little by little, I believe the Holy Spirit has moved and shown me the heart of God; Love and comfort I never knew. There was a moment this summer when I was sitting in a planetarium in Hastings, Nebraska watching a low budget children’s movie about the solar system. It was blurry and weird. But I started to think about Time and the Universe–things I’ve never even cared to think about. I don’t know anything about these things, but then I realized there is nothing anyone could ever say to convince me that God didn’t create it. I was overwhelmed with this loving peace, that there was a Light that shone into the darkness, into the nothing, into the void. It’s the same something, that has been illuminating my darkness and that has been healing me. It’s the Light that has helped me to no longer really fear death (REALLY, guys–I’m not that scared anymore–THIS IS LIFE CHANGING FOR ME). It’s the Light that makes me want to give my children Grace on top of Grace. It’s the Light that makes me know all will be well.
Sister Walburga talked about 3 great fiats, moments of “yes,” “it is so,” of “let it be.” Creation, Incarnation, and Resurrection. The fourth she said is happening right now, in the Church, moments when we can trust and know God is Good and Glorious. I feel, especially in this season, that I’m trying to choose to rest in the uncertainty of this life with bright confidence that assures me of the Present and never ending, mighty hand of our Lord. She finally challenged us to be both the manger and the baby this season; that we’d act as the place of accepting and receiving God while also being vulnerable, weak and wholly dependent on God. May it be so. Amen. Fiat.