Sing We Noel
By Evelyn Gerardo Challis,
Christmas came early this year.
An unexpected card this week with contact information. I had sought her for years, remembering that phone call long ago when she left a message, tentative in trust, expressing gratefulness for the gifts I sent as I sensed her vulnerability, not realizing she was grieving the death of her love. And unknown to me at that time, a profoundly spiritual death of another love. For years.
Years ago, parents coerced her, unmarried, to adopt out her child; rejection of daughter and grandchild due to fear and shame; lacking boldness to embrace her life and the grand baby’s life; instead, thrusting mother and child into a lifetime of confusion, shame, anger, rejection, the search for belonging.
And why is this Christmas.
A child was born. He once was lost. And now he’s found. She, unable to find him for years because family collusion with church authorities denied her access to the truth. And now he’s found, through the miracle of years of love and persistence.
Christmas reminds us: To be persistent in love; to be a presence of peace; to be a sign of tenderness and strength in a fragmented world; to bring hope where sorrow and despair prevail; to rejoice that we belong. We are wrapped in the authenticity of Christ’s life, Christ who understands our humanity. Who does not judge, but loves. Who does not reject, but assures us that we belong.
Christ is born, and embodied in the grief and sorrow, pain and isolation of all humanity. Christ is born, and embodied in the authenticity of yearning and desire to continue searching for love. Christ is born, and embodied in reconciliation and forgiveness, the claiming of truth and owning of decisions that lead to separation. Christ is born, and embodied in the courage to restore relationship. Christ is born, and this Christmas brings relief of one sort to this precious family, partnered with the grief of years apart, yet a new naming and embracing of one other as mother and son. Mother and son.
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