A “Yes” Beyond Emotions
By Henri Nouwen
Everything was there to make it a splendid Christmas. But I wasn’t really there. I felt like a sympathetic observer. I couldn’t force myself to feel differently. It just seemed that I wasn’t part of it. At times I even caught myself looking at it all like an unbeliever who wonders what everybody is so busy and excited about. Spiritually, this is a dangerous attitude. It creates a certain sarcasm, cynicism, and depression. But I didn’t want or choose it. I just found myself in a mental state that I could not move out of by my own force.
Still, in the midst of it all I saw - even though I did not feel - that this day may prove to be a grace after all. Somehow I realize that songs, music, good feelings, beautiful liturgies, nice presents, big dinners, and many sweet words do not make Christmas. Christmas is saying “yes” to something beyond all emotions and feelings. Christmas is saying “yes” to a hope based on God’s initiative, which has nothing to do with what I think or feel. Christmas is believing that the salvation of the world is God’s work and not mine. Things will never look just right or feel just right. If they did, someone would be lying. The world is not whole, and today I experience this fact in my own unhappiness. But it is into this broken world that a child is born who is called Son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, Savior.
I look at him and pray, “Thank you, Lord, that you came, independent of my feelings and thoughts. Your heart is greater than mine.” Maybe a “dry” Christmas, a Christmas without much to feel or think, will bring me closer to the true mystery of God-with-us. What it asks is pure, naked faith. (Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak)
and to this add...
~ Because God loved us all soooo much, He was attentive to our need and our pain, and sent His only child to help us ~ so that whoever believes in Him will not live and die in hopelessness, but have life eternal and everlasting. (John 3:16) Read it again, for the first time.