The thought, the image, is this … that 5 months ago I was on bended knee before a star in Bethlehem, with tears running down my cheeks.
I was in the midst of my Palestinian adventure and wrestling with the strange sensation that the thing I liked least about the ‘Holy Land’ was its religion. I was running from the worlds of ideology and theology from God and gods, from all that could give voice to violence, justify oppression, crown injustice.
Then I felt it, thick in the air of Bethlehem, like the presence of something beautiful and mysterious that catches your breath and softens the soul. I can’t really name it, which I guess is the meaning of ‘Holy’.
I knelt at the star in that small tunnel under the church of the Nativity and then I heard it, the small voice that slips under the noise, simply saying ‘Hope comes to the humble’. I was relieved, I had ran into my God, where I always have and always will find him. He wasn’t playing power games or counting money or waging war. He was underground, in the small and hidden things, with the weak and broken hearts, in a gentle knocking, in a faint whisper. Giving strength, giving hope.
There are no words to argue with that Presence when it comes near. Just tears that rise from the deep.
So, if we bend the knee this Christmas let’s not do it out of pious religion or even reverent fear, but because we need to get smaller in order to see the small things, in order to appreciate the ignored, to listen to our children, to value our sacredness, to touch the Christ child and in all this to know God.
‘You will find him wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger’