This is the week that we move into the story of birth. In the Christian calendar, before the waiting is really done, the fourth week of Advent crescendos with the story of Jesus’ birth. Ready or not.
I’ve been thinking about this possibility of birth. A lot. I’ve been drawing it. I’ve been painting it. Yes. I’ve even attempted to integrate it into my body. And yet, I find myself grumbling because I’m not really sure what this birth looks like. Not right now. I know what it meant. I know the place it holds in history — but I don’t know it for myself right now. I’m grumbling. Today, I read in Isaiah 29:17-24 that in this place of grumbling, I’ll somehow come to acceptance. It doesn’t say how. It doesn’t really encourage me all that much because I’m not really sure what the action is that I’m about to take. And yet, as #Reverb10 infers, there is an action to take. This journey is not about words and reflection. It’s about what you will do with this knowledge of yourself. It’s how you will act. It’s what you will do.
I believe — with all my heart — that’s the power of this story of birth. I believe it can cause us to do something. Something bigger than ourselves. Something that insists that this world will get better, but I’m not sure that we all get there at the same time. It’s true for many things. We emphasize the positive and insist that things will get better. There’s a whole campaign about this for LGBTQA youth right now. It gets better, the campaign says, but it’s not always true. It doesn’t always get better for LGBTQA youth. It’s a hope that is not always realized. It’s the same for the poor, the homeless, the refugee, the abused and the mentally ill. It doesn’t always get better. Sometimes it gets worse. Sometimes it seems that there is no way to move from where you are. That’s not exactly where I am. I’m just grumbling today. I don’t feel like moving because I’m not sure of the way. Today, as I begin to focus my thoughts on the Christmas story for Sunday’s sermon, I’m not sure we’re all ready to hear this message of hope. Instead, I think there are some of us that just need to grumble. To stay in that place. To know that God will meet us there anyway. That’s in the Christmas story too. God comes to be with us. Even when you’re cranky. Even when you refuse to move. Even when you can’t do a darn thing. God’s with you. I’m with you. That might be enough to make it better. I can only hope.