HOPE THAT PURIFIES
“Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God." John 1:34
Last night the ornaments came off the tree. My 3 year old was crushed. Our trash company has a deadline for how long they will do tree pickup without using up your one free bulky pick up for the year. Bah, humbug! So while we still have 11 pipers to pipe and 12 drummers to drum, Christmas is being swept up and put away.
In the midst of it, I don't find any respite in today's readings, no encouragement to wait by the manger a little bit longer, soaking up tidings of comfort and joy. I'm getting pushed to next week, to January 8th, to the Baptism. This baby will grow into the Son whom the Spirit overshadowed and with whom the Father is well pleased. It's not a bad thing to be rushed to, but it does feel like a rush.
There is an urgency to the tough question: Who do you say that I am? John wanted to know, Peter later has to answer, and Christmas compels an answer from me. In the Psalm, we proclaim that “all the ends of the Earth, have seen the power of God.” With all respect to the psalmist, I have to ask, have they? I believe I have, but do I live like it? Who do I say that Jesus is and how do I testify to that? I make it more complicated, but that's really all there is to it. I often miss the horizon for all the water in the way. I look at the problems - of the world, the church, my to-do list - and they seem insurmountable and overwhelming.
So my struggle today is to remain in the hope that purifies. I think that is what seemed to throw so many journalists about Pope Francis’s Christmas address. The headlines were all about him addressing war and politics, and he did, but they missed his refrain: “We see Jesus in…” Over and over, Pope Francis's grounds his reflection in the hope that purifies. So I don't promise I'm going to be good at it, but I'll renew my efforts to see Jesus as the horizon of the tragedies, and annoyances, and the bittersweet clearing out and boxing up of Christmas.
What struggle do I have right now? How can I invite Jesus into it? What's stopping me?
What do I think is too big for God to handle? Why?