The Risk of Christmas

The Risk of Birth

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn-
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn-
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth

—Madeleine L’Engle

The idea of risking all for love has captured my attention for a while. And so this poem speaks to me. The idea that there is no perfect time and place, that we only have now also rings true for me. I want to be this person…the one who risks all for love. I want to be the one who recognizes love winning despite all evidence to the contrary. I want to be an agent of this Love. And yet I am conflicted and frustrated.

I am conflicted because a part of me seeks drama and a role that is larger than life. And yet, I also sense that Love doesn’t need such grandiosity to be born. In fact, Love often seeps through the cracks, doesn’t it? Love finds its way into places that seem most inhospitable and insignificant. And at the same time I am frustrated because it often looks like nothing great is happening at all.

I know that Love can be born in the course of a regular day, into mundane routine and repetition. And it is also born in chance encounters. Love is born between the same two people hundreds of times a day for decades and it’s born between two strangers who might never see each other again. Love is born in a touch, a smile, even the silence. Love is born both in hard work and incredible ease.

“Be faithful in these little things,” Jesus said. He knew that what Love really needs is this kind of agency, these teeny portals to make its way into the world. One of the risks of Christmas for me, however, is believing that this Love is enough. I risk being unremarkable and going unnoticed by the world. I risk being misunderstood and taken for a fool. I risk the shame of all those who expected me to do something with my life and be somebody.

And yet, in my heart of hearts, I agree with the poetess and share her gratitude and awe. Every now and then I catch a glimpse of this fullness, this eternity Jesus promised. And while the conditions may not be perfect, the story isn’t unfolding the way I would have it and the risks of believing in this enterprise are great, the promise of Love is so much greater.

When is the time for love to be born?
No better time than now…be it done unto me too.


About lchavez64

Seeker. Dreamer. Ordinary girl.

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