“And on their way to Bethlehem, suddenly the same star they had seen in the East reappeared! Amazed, they watched as it went ahead of them and stopped directly over the place where the child was…they were so ecstatic that they shouted and celebrated with unrestrained joy. When they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary…they were overcome!” (Matt 2:9-11)
We aren’t focused on the great mystery. Rather, we want to think we have God in our pockets. We tend to be more comfortable with quick, easy, glib answers. If the great mystery is indeed the GREAT mystery, it will lead us into paradox, into darkness, into journeys that never cease. That is what prayer is about. Richard Rohr
The essence of Christian spirituality is following Christ on a journey of personal transformation. The distant land to which we are called is the new creature into which Christ wishes to fashion us. David Benner
As I sit this morning in my favorite chair, overlooking the small lake in my back yard, the air is clouded with fog. I wonder how the world will unfold out of this hazy day. When will the light shine again? When will I see clearly?
The haze in my own life, the unknowing, the lack of certainty for my future, as I have entered a new decade recently, has led me to reflect on the inner lives of Mary and the Wise Men this Advent season.
Mary said “yes” to a deeper experience of God’s life in her. The wise men said “yes” to a journey they didn’t fully understand. Both of their path’s had significant components of mystery attached to them. Foggy days, Unclear ways. Yet, they both pressed into a deeper, unseen knowing.
Not only is there Great Mystery “out there”, but there is also a Great Mystery “in here”. We are a great, beautiful mystery and the sooner we come to accept this reality, even embrace it, the better.
I’m slowing discovering that when there is something I can’t figure out about myself, that I am not bad. I’m learning to sit with the unknowing and trust that a deeper knowing will emerge….if I wait. Which is the very nature of mystery! It’s OK to have unanswered questions. Like the Nancy Drew books I grew up with, I’m learning how to honor the mystery, value it, and then allow time to discover the deeper gem.
Thankfully, in the mysteries we find ourselves, God gives us gleams of light along the way, as He did Mary and the Wise Men. He wants us to discover deeper, beautiful aspects of ourselves and His world. And most times the discovery includes people and the relational nutrients they provide our questioning souls.
· Imagine the comfort and support that Mary received from Joseph and how his very presence and acceptance was a strength and healing to her. Sometimes we need people who will keep others from killing what is inside of us.
· See the validation that Elizabeth offered Mary, how the experience of her “yes” was very significant and not to be dismissed. Notice how Elizabeth’s warm presence and sharing of her similar story nurtured Mary and what was growing inside of her.
· Hear the group of Wise Men speaking words of affirmation to each other along their long journey on their camels. As I listen, I can relate to my need for others to come alongside and convey the belief in my ability to do difficult things, draw attention to the good, and provide hope in a future I can’t see clearly.
· Imagine the encounter with Mary and the Wise Men at the manger. When we connect with others on the journey and hear their stories of encountering mystery, bouts of darkness and light along the way….we say, like maybe they said, “We are not crazy after all!”
As people of God, we are all being invited into a deeper journey of radical trust. Yet, we also struggle sometimes with saying “yes” to the movement of the Holy Spirit, finding it difficult to shed comfortable ways of being and believing, especially when there is little affirmation or board room support!
How we desperately need each other. As you contemplate the beauty of this Advent season, perhaps these questions can be part of your reflection:
What do I need from others on my journey? How can I offer nutrients to others on theirs?