We Begin Again

A dear friend sent me a note in a Christmas card and I can’t get it out of my head.

May Christmas be extra special as we celebrate our nomad Savior who was always beginning again.

Maybe it’s just my little corner of the internet, but it seems like many of us are struggling. We’re weary, wounded, numbed, and needing. We’ve been through a hell of a lot in the last couple of years and the shreds of hope many have clung to have revealed themselves to be just that: shreds, not solutions.

Progress these days might feel like one step forward, two steps back. Many of us are lonely, lying in the leftovers of relationships that didn’t ride out challenges the way we expected them to. Or maybe we’re finding ourselves in new beginnings, drowning in imposter syndrome and wondering if everything we’ve done is a big mistake. If we’re a big mistake.

Christmas brings birth. It’s not the birth of the New Year with sequins and confetti and sparkling promises. It’s the birth of sacrifice. It’s the blood, the doubt, the sweaty brow, the smells of humanity and straw. Birth is not shiny and perfect. There are fluids and animal-like noises, effort, and pain. There is an immaculate form drawn open, widening to the point of breaking, through which newness enters, the fragile newness of a slippery baby sent here just to die.

The birth offered by Christmas is raw and ridiculous. After all, who ever heard of a king being born in a barn, much less God Himself? It’s so absurd that the Creator would want us so badly, desire us so deeply that He’d take the form of a wrinkly baby with a face (most likely) like that of Winston Churchill. And yet He did.

This refugee King, working with His hands, humbly knocked the world on its ear and continues to this day.

Guys, I know things seem dark. I know that we’re all exhausted from the arguing and the anxiety. We’re worried for our countries, for our families, for our freedoms, for our faiths. We feel so deeply and struggle to understand our neighbors and to even want to love them.

But I keep coming back to the Christmas card. We celebrate a nomad Savior who was always beginning again.

If, this Christmas, you feel homeless, so was He.

If you feel misunderstood by the people who are supposed to love you most, so was He.

If you’re navigating a road that requires bone deep sacrifice, so was He.

If you’re wandering in the desert, wrestling temptation, so was He.

If you are unsettled by the way things are and the systems of power, so was He.

If you are misjudged and misrepresented, so was He.

Our nomad Savior, the wandering healer who found belonging nowhere miraculously belongs to us all.

And so we begin again.

Our circumstances may be less than ideal this Christmas. Our world is broken now just as it was at the very moment of Our Lady’s final push which thrust Divinity into our wounded world. We cannot fix our situations. We cannot wish our worries away or secure an easier path for ourselves or our families.

But we can begin again.

Every misstep, every sin, every failing is an opportunity to return to him. Every sharp word or resentful sigh is an invitation to cradle the Baby to our chests, to breathe Him in and let the soft Newborn held against our broken hearts teach us how to submit ourselves to the Father.

We begin again and again and again as many times as it takes to get us to holiness, daily chipping away at the things that rebel against Him.

We begin again and take comfort in a nomad Savior who knows all about new beginnings.

We begin again taking comfort that we already know the ending.

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