My last “A” for Advent (borrowed from Father Richard Rohr’s Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr–Daily Meditations for Advent) takes us right into the season of Christmas: Alive! Advent is a season of waiting for new life.
The prophet Isaiah and the prologue of the Gospel of John make it very clear that God doesn’t stop creating. God is always giving us new life: The Father continually re-creates us in His love, sustaining our existence; the Son continually saves and heals us–no matter how much we struggle or fall into sin, we can always go to Him for forgiveness, strength, and healing; the Spirit continually guides and inspires us–He is the Fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to “be with us always.”
Christmas is a celebration of the new life of a Baby–both the most human of events and the most divine. The Infant Christ who takes His first breath in a musty stable also wants to come into the imperfect, stained stable of our hearts, so that He can bring us life. While we want to prepare our hearts to receive Him–that’s why we strive to live awake, aware, and alert!–the most important thing is that we open our hearts to Him, no matter what state they are in.
We are imperfect beings, and yet, God loves us in our imperfection. There is a solidity about the physical imperfection of our world, and a “realness” about our human imperfection. This “realness” is where God wants to enter in. Otherwise, the Lord would not have chosen to be born in a stable, but perhaps in a palace.
As writers, we also want to open our hearts to how the Lord can work through the imperfection of our writing. Writers who are like me are never satisfied with their work. Even after it is posted or published, we wish we could go back and tweak it, or in some cases, completely delete it.
If I wait to feel that any of the pieces that I write are “ready,” I would never publish anything. No one would ever see what I’ve written.
Yet, some of the pieces that I feel most vulnerable about are the ones that readers tell me moved them deeply. As a writer and communicator for the Christ Child born in a stable, I need to accept the imperfections of my work, knowing that those “faults” or “cracks” in my writing that I simply cannot fix may be just what is needed for someone else to deeply connect with what I’m trying to say.
As Catholics and as writers, we are called to live in newness of life this Christmas, and to share that abundance of life with others, notwithstanding our imperfections.