At the end of the movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, each of the main characters were assigned one of the title monikers. Yet, it seems to me that in each of the men there existed all three characteristics. Maybe we are all sometimes good, bad, or ugly. I know I have been.
As I reflect on what happened at the first Christmas, I think the movie of my life might be similarly titled The Scared, the Scarred, and the Sacred.
So, what am I afraid of? Well, lately I have been anxiously fearful of something bad happening to my wife or one of my children. Also, sometimes I am scared of receiving that call from the US Army saying I have to pack my duffel bags and fly off to some distant land for another year of separation from my family. And other times I worry about losing purpose or meaning in an ever-changing and confusing post-modern world. Unfortunately, I find myself disquieted far too often. But then I hear the Christmas angel saying to me, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.’ And suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’” Thank you God for taking away my fears and replacing them with the peace of Christ.
But what about all these scars, the emotional, spiritual, and physical reminders of the wrongs I have committed, the shame I often feel, and the guilt that I sometimes carry like luggage? And what about all the scars from others who have hurt me, abused me, or left me be by the side of the proverbial road, alone. My sins and the sins of others wound me deeply and continue to hurt and scar long after the events that caused them. Again, the angels remind me of what happened two thousand years ago, and which began the process of turning everything right-side up: “And Mary will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Thank you God for taking away the sins which scarred my soul and replacing them with the hope and healing of salvation in Christ.
So, God takes away my fears and my brokenness through Christ, and puts them on His Cross where they are destroyed forever. I am given new life, and my worries and my scars become sacred–they become divine–because I enter into Christ and I am being made whole: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” St. John reminds me that in the incarnation of Christ I become part of the family of God, redeemed, restored, and resurrected in Him. Thank you God for taking what makes me scared and wounds my being and making them sacred through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, my savior. Thank you this Christmas for Jesus being born again in my mind, body, and soul.
© Paul Dordal, 2013