by Cynthia Helton —
Resting in Chaos, the theme from last week, is meant to help us all focus on better preparing ourselves for the celebration of the coming of Christ – rather than becoming bogged down in the minutia of the usual materialistic, consumer-driven hype the holidays have become.
But unfortunately, that net has widened over the last week to push chaos to an all new level, incorporating the dismay, the disillusionment, the distress of our political climate here in the U.S. to a level that far surpasses the normal angst of the season.
Dark days (and nights) of the soul on display for all the world to see. So much so that the hustle and bustle of holiday mania quite literally be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Perhaps we all need a ledge to stand on; we need to get our perspective back. Perhaps we need this “wilderness” – just as Jesus did – to bring into focus the opportunity for transformation that is germinating in these shadows.
Perhaps resting in chaos doesn’t necessarily mean getting “rid” of chaos; but rather being still long enough to absorb the fact that what happens to one of us happens to all of us in some way, shape or fashion.
I’ve often wondered, did the “human” Jesus completely understand what was happening within him after his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist? Did he have an inkling that something was about to happen – to him and because of him? Did he wonder if his path was due to his own understanding ….or did he always know he was God?
Some may totally disagree with me, and since I’m certainly no scholar or trained clergy, my thoughts are my own; but it gives me a modicum of comfort to think Jesus was “fully” human, and perhaps his own divinity was revealed to him slowly, over the course of his life. Like with the rest of us.
I read recently that “Christ” wasn’t Jesus’ last name! Christ came after the resurrection. The Jesus we first meet as the innocent child gave up his outward divinity in order to show us our own “inward” divinity. Jesus was preparing – consciously or unconsciously – to welcome the Christ he would be for all eternity.
So what am I getting at? I’m suggesting that this chaos we’re finding ourselves in …be it personal, financial, political, or all of the above …can be our “gift.” Rather than trying to deny it exists, deny we’re possibly a “holy mess,” let us use this unsettling time to our advantage.
Like Jesus in the wilderness, let us see our demons for what they are: our fears …feeling disconnected from God …searching for what we think we’ve lost. Let us use this time to reflect on the fact that the incarnate Christ really comes to us over-and-over again, like the ebb and flow of our lives …a continual Advent. Actually that makes me feel hopeful.
When Christmas day comes and we celebrate the birth of human Jesus who is the Christ, we get a glimpse of what love looks like. The outpouring of the Divine is incarnate in our midst. We are filled personally, and that spills out into the world. I think trying to hold on to that feeling – for everything to be perfect – is what happens to many of us. It’s how we get caught up in this seasonal “frenzy” that consumes us, leaving us depressed and exhausted.
Is it possible that we can look at this chaos in a different way – choosing to see a blessing it can hold if we call it by its right name? Maybe cleansing; or polishing. Or how about tilling the soil; or pruning. All of these words connote more than work, and effort, and frustration – like wandering in the desert …but look at our treasure in store for us when we “exhale.”