Sunday Reflection on New Beginnings

We’ve moved from this time of waiting in Advent to the birth of a new born baby.  New beginnings full of hope.  New beginnings full of Joy.  New beginnings steeped in Faith.  What we’ve been waiting for is finally arrived. 

Perhaps there are some in confusion.  Maybe even disappointment.  Surprised that He, the Savior, the King, the Messiah comes…as a new born baby.  There will still be waiting to come.  And yet there is new hope, full of potential.

The Newborn King.  This baby who has been prophesied.  This baby for whom Wise Men have traveled hundreds of miles to see.  Shepherds have left their flocks to visit.  Angels have sung about.  This baby the king and the powerful fear.  This baby who brings the common people hope.  This baby who will save the poor and the meek and the hungry.  This baby who will lead his people.  

Each person has a plan for this new born babe.  Each person has an agenda for this new born king.  What does each of them desire as they look upon the face of the new born baby?  As each person looks into the cradle…what does he see?   This baby who is a cradle (manger) full of hope and Hope.  For some, this is a cradle full of fear.  

Some are seeking to destroy this baby before he destroys them.  Others are seeking a king, a warrior, who will destroy the wicked and the bad.  A savior who will win against the oppression.  All of scripture, all of history, is full of kings and warriors and men fighting for a better world.  Why would this King of kings be any different?  

Even in hind sight of knowing what’s to come, what is our hope for this newborn king for us…now?  PAUSE. REFLECT.

Jesus will do something very very different.  Jesus will do the unexpected. Jesus will bring peace, by embodying peace.  He will bring peace by spreading peace.  Encouraging every one of us to find peace in our hearts and meet everything with peace and love.  

He will not be a warrior to lead the people to a great battle.  He will not be a king in the normal sense of the word.  But I get ahead in the story.  

Let’s come back to a new born baby.  For now he is a baby full of possibility and everyone holds a plan in their hearts or heads for this babe.  Everyone has high hopes, even a big plan of how things are supposed to play out…some are even planning.  Plotting.  …

There are endless possibilities in new beginnings.  There is always uncertainty.  Sometimes, we react.  Sometimes, before it’s time to react.  More often than not, we meet this uncertainty of new beginnings with fear.  Anger.  Dismissal.  What we know, though not perfect, feels safer than what might come.  We often fear, and react, to change before it’s time.  

But Mary.  Mother Mary.  She sits and she listens.  As the shepherds glorify and praise God for what they have heard and seen…as the people spread the word of this new born babe, so that hope can fill men’s hearts (and plans and desires)…Mary sits.  She listens and treasures up all these things and ponders them in her heart.  She can not know what is to come.  She has already been challenged and tested in her short life.  She can not know how to mother the son of God and so she settles into a place of trust and has faith.  She sits and ponders, treasuring these moments in her heart.  

She is the calm in the midst of the maelstrom of hope.  She is calm in the maelstrom of fear. 

We sit on the threshold of closing one of the most challenging years in our lives, perhaps one of the most challenging years in history, and the beginning of a new year.   

We are sitting on this threshold, hoping that 2021 will be different and better.  We each have our plan and our goal and our hopes for the new year.  Hopefully, full of true Hope and faith and Love and Peace and … Grace.  

2021 looms as a cradle full of hope out of what feels like the depths of the darkness.  Closing a year of loss and grief, what do our hopes and desires look like?  

Each one of us has a plan for this new year.  Each one of us has an agenda for how this new year will be different. What do we desire as we look upon the threshold of the this year?  

There are endless possibilities in new beginnings.  There is always uncertainty.  Sometimes, we react.  Sometimes, before it’s time to react.  More often than not, we meet this uncertainty of new beginnings with fear.  Anger.  Dismissal.  There is an underlying layer that what we know, though not perfect, feels safer than what might come.  We often fear, and react, to change before it’s time.  

We all know that we can hope and dream and build goals and feed desires, but things may turn out in very different and very unexpected ways.  The future is always unknown.  Even the present is clouded.  

We want to feel like we’re doing something.  But perhaps, it is a time for introspection in this quiet space that has come to us.  

Perhaps we can treasure up all we have learned and ponder them in our hearts.  Perhaps in the future, in hindsight, when things are less immediate, we will understand. 

That is what Mary waits for.  She has no agenda, no plan, no goal.  She has Faith.  Deep, abiding faith.  She treasures up the moment and knows that she will go through terrible times, but it will all become clear.  She will understand, even when her heart is hurt and broken.  These treasures will be a balm for her heart.  She sits and waits.  And embodies Quiet Faith. 

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