It's funny that she can do this in giving a gift. But some people are just that talented. After our collective decision not to imbibe, we exchanged gifts like wisepeople -- and she has pushed me to think and ponder what this moment of birth is all about. My dear friend gave me a candle with these words spoken by Lao Tzu written on its side:
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
So I'm thinking about Joseph and his journey of 1000 miles. I've never really considered Joseph until this year. I always dismissed his side of the story -- until I had the opportunity to preach it yesterday. Joseph's story is a difficult one but there is such an amazing story of possibility and hope in his story.
I'm thinking about Mary and her impossible journey across 1000 miles of "virginity" compelled by a bravery that I can only dream about. I wonder what her single step was. I wonder what made her say those brave words in Luke: "Here I am, servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word" (Luke 1:37, NRSV). I wonder if she tripped. I wonder how she found the footing. I wonder how she could have been so brave.
And I'm thinking about the child that is about to be born and wondering what steps he took. I'm wondering what shit he stepped in and how in the world he inspired so many (including me) to take 1000 steps with him. And I'm wondering where we are going. Perhaps this is the biggest question that I have on this Christmas Eve. I'm wondering where this child will lead us -- and particular where this child is leading me beyond the starry night. I'm wondering about this light that my friend has given me. I'm wondering about where I'm supposed to shine my light and how far I'm supposed to walk. And as my mind wanders to 1000 places, I'm blessed to know that I have friends that will walk with me and talk with me and show me that they care. I'm blessed on this Christmas night -- even when I can't find the energy to express it -- because I have friends.
That went off the deep end with schmaltz, right? It sounds a bit too much like I'm George Bailey. Oh well, it's my favorite movie. Why not? It's Christmas, right?