Embracing during Advent
A question arises: how can we embrace the true meaning of Advent without alienating those who believe in a different manner as us. We sometimes find it difficult to embrace what Desmond Tutu says: “Ubuntu … speaks of the very essence of being human. … It is to say, ‘My humanity is caught up, is inextricably bound up, in yours.’ We belong in a bundle of life. We say, ‘A person is a person through other persons.’”
We cannot accept the Love of God if we try to prevent others from experiencing this same Love, no matter what our official name for God is. This is the time of year when we must embrace this idea, embrace others, and move forward to a position of acceptance. This is what the message of Jesus is; this is what the message of Advent is.
If our faith cannot lead us into embracing each other, then our faith is paper thin. It is merely a testimonial to our lifeless beliefs. If God is truly Love, then we must love each other as He loves us. I am a hugger; I believe that as God hugs us, we must hug each other to give each other comfort. And, yes, I do hug other men. Why not? Women hug each other without people sneering; men should be able to do the same. If people object to men hugging, we, that’s their problem.
I thank God for giving us this time of year, this time of Advent, to remind us how close we really are. I don’t worry about how a person looks, what religion he practices, how intelligent he is, or how much money he has. God certainly doesn’t care; so, it is so wrong for me to care. What I care about is that the person in front of me is on a path, a journey of his own, facing sometimes insurmountable difficulties. Perhaps if he does not return my happy greeting, he may be in a period of personal trauma. My kind words, my hug, could make all the difference to him at this particular moment, this particular time.
God is where we come from, and God is where we will end up. By extension, the following is also true. If Love is where we are from, and Love is where we are going to end up, then why should we not express that love in our everyday lives.
I have had three different encounters over the last two days. I had a fireplace technician come to my home yesterday to clean my gas fireplace. It is the original fireplace, probable 10 – 15 years old. No parts available. I agreed to buy a new one, and the workmen installed it yesterday; no appointment a month or two away. Really, six days before Christmas. Expensive, but a nice Christmas gift. We also got to know each other as the work was proceeding. When the men were finished, I had three new friends.
Later in the day, I had a service clean my leaf-filled gutters. It took if a very short time to clean them; he reduced the price, and we spoke of power washing the house in the spring. As we were speaking, I brought coffee outside (a nice 55 degrees) and I gained a new friend.
The last visit was me to one of my doctors. It was more of a chat than an examination. We shared grandchildren photos and spoke of our family plans for Christmas. I told him how bless my wife and I are, since our son will be home for Christmas for the first time in about eight years, maybe longer. He is no longer my doctor; he is my friend.
In all three instances, we embraced each other, figuratively, and enjoyed being together as equals. Financially we are not; but that does not matter. We are in this life together, and we must embrace each other.
We cannot embrace God and Heaven, without allowing others to do the same.
Happy Christmas to all.