“Did you wrap yourself inside the unexpected so we would know that Love would go so far?” “Be Born in Me,” Francesca Battistelli
Words of Hope
A picture of Bam Bam/Tommy sits beside my printer, a gift from my last visit when he was in a nursing home in Lancaster. My friend Marge and I had driven down to decorate his room and share a few gifts and some Christmas cheer. It was the last time I saw him, as stage IV cancer would soon claim his life.
Waves of memories wash over me this season: of our first encounter in prayer and communion at BACH (in pre-Covid days), his unvarnished sharing of his life over the months and years—the violence he endured as a child, his pride in his family and service as a Marine, the drug addiction that led to his killing a man, his time in prison, recovery, the theft and violence of the streets, his suffering as cancer tightened its crippling hold, the spiritual guidance of his grandmother even after her death. Caring for him stretched my heart and understanding of how “love would go so far.”
During Advent we are reminded of the “Love that came down at Christmas,” as Christina Rosetti pens it. How deeply moving is the risk, the humility, and vulnerability of God in the incarnation of Jesus, that to be close to us God came to us not in power and might but in the gift of a child.
Each Sunday we sing “Emmanuel, Emmanuel, God with us, revealed in us, His name is called Emmanuel.” God with us. The promise of the intimate companionship of God is gift enough, but the knowledge that God is IN US, that God’s DNA is at the core of our being is staggering. The dust of life covers over our true nature as we live and strive and suffer. But the light that shines in the darkness of Advent birth reminds us once again who we are. And every time we expand our hearts in love, we shine forth God.
Awaken us, O God, to the miracle of incarnation this season. Call forth the divine essence in each of us in acts of big-hearted love. Amen.
Dr. Pat Saxon