21 December, 2015

Hard Labor and Christmas Joy

Birth is hard.  Birth is painful.  Birth is messy.  Birth is dangerous.  And yet, birth is beautiful. 

A Child is Born … after
  • Hours of labor; it’s called labor for a reason:  It is a lot of work.  It requires careful breathing and a lot of patience.  And yet, the less relaxed one is, the harder the labor and the slower the progress.  Birth is hard.
  • Patterns of pain; pangs is hardly the word for it.  The contractions get closer and closer – and they really should be called muscle spasms; they hurt like a Charlie Horse.  Birth is painful.
  • Chaos and filth;  Augustine aptly put it, “Inter faeces et urinem nascimur.”    A new life in the family structure brings discomfort in relationships and many sleepless nights.  Birth is messy.
  • Injury and death; for too many death happens before the child is 12 months old. Mothers also die in child birth.  Accidents happen during birth that threaten both mother and child. Birth leads to death always.  Birth is dangerous.

Unto us a Child is born, a Son is Given….  Our struggles, pain, messiness, and danger happen after the Birth in the stable. 
  • A life time of labor; it takes a lot of work, humility,  to follow the Way of Truth and Light. It requires intentional living, and a lot of patience. 
  • A life time of the pain of change.  Bringing good news, justice, peace, and righteousness into this world requires we work against the current of human greed, jealousy, and hurtfulness. 
  • Chaos, filth, and sleepless nights; we are not in this for the glory and it does get gory. Followers of the Christ Child are those who work side by side with the poor, the hungry, the disadvantaged; speak truth to power; and bring freedom to the oppressed. 
  • Birthing God’s Realm is dangerous business. It is revolutionary. It threatens those with  power and wealth. We will probably not live to see it in the fullest of glory.

And yet, birth is beautiful.  Ours is a birth that offers the most beautiful of loves, the most extravagant of welcomes, the most grace-filled relationships. 

May Christ be born anew into your soul this Christmastide.  May God’s Realm take root in the messiness of your living.  And may the joy of Spirit-filled transformation surround you with hope.