21 Dec 2015
On the 25th day of each month, the text from the Corrymeela prayer book is from Luke’s gospel. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”, one dying prisoner says to another. And the other replies “Today you will be with me in paradise”.
What an appropriate text with which to trouble the tinsel this Christmas.
Who is imprisoned? Who is dying and reaching out? Who, even in their last shreds of dignity, is seeking to find a friend, seeking to hold onto a hope that they are not alone?
And the response of Jesus is a response of hospitality and friendship. I hear Jesus saying, like Ruth, “Where you go, I will go, and where I go, you will go”.
The story remembered at Christmas is, ultimately, a story about the dignity of humanity. It is a story that honours the sacrament of skin, the tenderness of touch, the uniqueness of an individual and the demand of dignity. In Luke’s gospel, Elizabeth, mother of the cousin of Jesus, finds out that she is about to have a child, and her childlessness had been the cause of gossip and judgment. She doesn’t rejoice that she’s part of a great story. She rejoices because her indignity is to be taken away. We can be this for each other, in little and large ways. We can find ways to bear witness to each other’s dignity. We can find ways to lift indignity, even a little. We can find ways to share burdens, even for a short time. We can be a little light. We can be Christmas to each other.
Who is in prison? Who has been condemned? Who has had hands take them where they do not want to go? Who is searching for solidarity in their solitude? Theirs is the Christlight this Christmas. Look for it. Love it. Be lit by it.
May we each make Christmas good by this gift. We are gifts to each other, or we could be.