Posted on December 23, 2022 by Jenn Zatopek
We have entered into a time of year that feels like liminal space, a sacred threshold between the end of this year and the start of another, one that’s still filled with possibility even amid the devastating losses of another year of living. All of us have survived terrible things but have also experienced bursting moments of goodness, which give us hope and energy for the future. I’ve fallen ill from a nasty head cold which has gifted me with an impromptu respite from the heyday of work, leaving me with more time for solitude and contemplation.
For the past few days, my persistent head cold has taken a turn for the worse, and I’ve had to take my own advice and convalesce at home, laying down on the couch and letting myself do nothing more than rest. As a recovering human “do-er,” listening to and caring for my body in a kind and tender way feels just like letting go, a hidden theme threaded throughout the Christmas story and yours and mine too.
As I consider the Incarnation, I think of how much our ancestors in faith were practicing the art of letting go. Consider the following: the virgin Mary, an unwed pregnant teenage mom who let go of appearing as a proper Jewish woman; Jospeh, her spouse who let go of the hope for a virgin wife and embraced dishonor instead; the Magi, Zoroastrians who let go of the idea of wisdom coming only from their religious tradition and welcomed something new. And the list goes on of how many people’s cherished views and expectations in the story of Christ’s birth were upended by something unheralded: the radical and transformative power of a Love that is spacious enough for everyone, that all people are welcomed into God’s warm and tender embrace.
As we continue onward in this liminal space of the year’s ending, my hope is that you can let go of what no longer serves you, old stories about yourself that are rooted in fear and shame. You belong to the Creator, to the world and to us, no matter where you have come from, no matter what you have been through, no matter who has hurt you and what has been done to you. Please accept, acknowledge, and honor that you are a marvelous human being who has always deserved love and kindness, tender care and deep listening. All these seasons of Light we are in, from Christmas to Chanukah and the Winter Solstice and more, all of them point us in the direction of a Love that is stronger than the darkness and isolation we fear. It might even be essential to notice and name that Love beckons us to welcome the darkness within as lonely and needing companionship too.
May you warmly welcome yourself home during these dark seasons of Light, knowing The Holy has already set a place for you inside.