My life with Jesus had been filled with expectation.
First, he was my friend–a role which he filled sweetly–with paper and paste and popsicle sticks.
Then, he was my personal savior–a relationship which, at the age of 7, I didn’t entirely grasp, but was happy to boast about.
Finally, he was my protector–a guardianship in which he failed me, immensely, but only once, because I never trusted him again.
On the day that my grandmother and her best friends were crushed by that 18-wheeler, my fourteen year-old heart was broken.
Perhaps if I hadn’t left behind my sangha–my Sunday school class of spiritual seekers–our relationship would have matured around the crack of His infidelity, but instead I discarded him, just as I was discarded by everything I knew as good and certain and enduring.
In the chaos, some of my younger siblings reached toward an irrefutable truth. Theirs were radical conversions, delineating us–one from the other–saved and unsaved–which served to formally separate me from my friend Jesus.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
Even so, I kept Christmas, each and every year, through move after move, loss after loss, ending after ending, and even after the glitter and the gift lists and the gluttony lost luster.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
For years, I sought to understand what drew me to a faith that I no longer held, but eventually I surrendered to a Mystery beyond understanding.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Then, just this morning, at the ripe age of 52, after leading a morning yoga practice for women, and driving home along a country road, and thinking about the article I posted yesterday–where I took issue with the proprietary claim of those who say that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,”–I realized that I had reconciled with my old friend.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
I’ve emptied a room and invited him back in.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.