“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas just like the ones I used to know.” So the song goes.
Too often at this time of year, we engage in a kind of nostalgia for the way things used to be or should be. And so we set impossible expectations and grow anxious and stressed in reaching for perfection. We are often disappointed with results: the decorations are not perfect, the meal disappointing. If we focus on what is missing or wrong, we are sure to be disappointed.
As Fr. Malone described in today’s sermon on the scripture readings, Joseph has to make a decision about how to handle a painful, complex situation. According to the law and the culture, he has the choice of denouncing Mary either publically or privately. He sees only the two alternatives. Then the angel appears to him and tells him to “fear not to take Mary thy wife.” And Joseph is responsive to the angel’s message.
In his book Crazy Christians, Michael Curry writes: “If we live only in the context of the way things are, we are condemned to live according to the vagaries of the present time and the dictates of the status quo. But if we live in the context of that which is greater than ourselves, we become open to the possibility of action and transformation.”
This season is a time to reflect upon and give great thanks for what we have been given through Christ’s birth. It is a time to let go of our unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others and to grasp the possibilities that can be. I pray for us to rejoice in our many blessings and possibilities, not just at Christmas but throughout our lives.
How might you begin to explore new possibilities in your life?