Good news and great joy to all the world: Today is born our Saviour, Christ the Lord.
Such joyful tidings! We all want to believe the Good News, yet it can often be problematic when we are surrounded so often by Bad News. You cannot pick up a newspaper or turn on the news without seeing another story of violence and suffering both in far away and not so far away places. It is easy to get cynical. Yet Jesus did not broadcast the Good News to us on all-day news channels or on front-page headlines. He came into the world in anonymity, his arrival announced only to those poor and attentive enough to see and discern the hidden beauty behind the vulnerable child lying in the stable.
L’Arche has announced this fragile yet beautiful reality to me on almost a daily basis since I first walked into the Green House on a hot summer day last year. That we each have a gift to give is a truth that is not always easy to accept. It is easy to feel inadequate in the face of all the things we “should” be doing and consequently be paralyzed by guilt when we do not succeed. Our lives become like the all-day news channel, continually broadcasting to ourselves and the world around us, our failures, rather than our gifts.
One evening, just a short while ago, I walked into Joey’s room to give him his evening medication. I had expected him to be asleep already, like he often is at this time, but on this occasion, he was sitting there, glasses on, deep in thought. I asked him, “What are you thinking about, Joey, sitting there in the dark?”
He responded “I was waiting!” Upon asking what he was waiting for, he responded simply, “For you!” and then a moment later, “I like you, Will!”
It was a beautiful moment because, in my opinion, I hadn’t done anything in particular to earn this praise from Joey. It had just been an ordinary day (or as ordinary as a day can be at the Green House!), but Joey was thankful for me, as I was, without pretense or ulterior motive. He was thankful for the gift of me, and I can tell you that I am also very thankful for the gift of Joey!
Jesus came into the world, not to rid the world of suffering or to change us into perfect people, but rather to be with us and open our hearts to the Good News, which is that is each of us has the potential to be a gift to each other and to reveal each other’s gifts to the world, despite our weaknesses or failures. Can you think of any better news than this?
This advent we have had the theme of “Making Room for the New.” As we take this theme into the Christmas season and the New Year, could we also look at this as, “Making Room for the Good News?”. Can we slow ourselves down in order to be attentive enough to see the gifts of others, but also our own gifts as well? Can we make room for each other in our busy lives, so that when others around us tune in they hear the Good News of our lives together?