So this is Christmas

…If the preacher
was immortal, his homily
was not. There was a moment
towards which it crept
to die at the precise stroke
of the [clock]…
excerpt from the Conviction by RS Thomas

I have been working on a funeral this morning. This adds to a long list of events in our church. Events that do not seem to fit the Christmas narrative. More than one funeral. Family members taken to the hospital. You would think for a moment, for a week, the darkness could pause to honor the entrance of light.

But the pause does not come. Instead I am left to stammer – but there are not words to speak into these moments. Certainly I try to conjure brilliance, but healing does not come from my words.

Then we remember that the light of the world,  the one called “Word”, did not come as words. Instead he came as a baby, as a human, as a life. He entered into our existence to heal this world of our fundamental problem. The problem that has plagued us even before the tree’s fruit – that made creation “not good”. (Genesis 2:18)

Jesus came as relationship.

And here, amidst the pain, is the opportunity for us to become like Christ. It is our opportunity to bring healing. When we are present, when we come alongside those who are hurting, then we become light in the darkness. In relationship we become the answer that words cannot bring.

This is Christmas.

A pen appeared, and the god said:
‘Write what it is to be
man.’ And my hand hovered
long over the bare page,

until there, like footprints
of the lost traveler, letters
took shape on the page’s
blankness, and I spelled out

the word ‘lonely’. And my hand moved
to erase it; but the voices
of all those waiting at life’s
window cried out loud: ‘It is true.’
The Word by RS Thomas

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