The bible makes much of a “missing one” … a “lost one” … a single hair …
Jesus said to his disciples: “What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.” Matthew 18:12-14
There was a time our family went through a tough patch. Extended family needs. Our young children were all fed and watered, all went to school in fresh uniforms, all came home, were all safe and cared for, were loved as always. Except the “one” took up a lot of “space”. Space that was home for the many. But not then. Right then that space was shrunk by the “one”. And when the “one” moved on again the “many” were still there with space not as it used to be.
We had a “practice Christmas” that year. One sunny end-of-summer October.
We left the curtains closed … the doors locked … the lights low … We called school and said they were ill … We had pretend presents … real family games … pretend Christmas lunch … real cuddles … a pretend Christmas tree … real laughter and family. We reclaimed the space that had been let to the “one”. Our family healed that day. And our children never mentioned this “practice Christmas”.
Healed children are easily embarrassed.
Advent is all about a journey of preparation to a stable with the cute manger and clean straw. A pink and cuddly baby. A clean and well-groomed mother. A proxy father. Reverent shepherds and well-timed wise men. All making this the perfect Christmas Story. Even the many for whom a perfect Christmas is expense, pressure, too little time, not enough love. Even the many for whom a loved one(s) will never share their Christmas again. Even the many for whom Christmas is an alien irrelevant religious festival. All of the many for whom this is not for them even though they are “one” as well.
I spent one Christmas Day almost by myself. I was surrounded by people. I kept busy. I smiled on the outside. I did all the things we all tell each other to do when times are tough … Look up … Smile … Don’t dwell on things … Look on the bright side …
Except the whole day I just wanted to be healed. And not by a baby in a Christmas Story. I wanted to be with those I loved. I wanted to be one with my “many”.
Two weeks today it will be Christmas Day.
And whether we believe or disbelieve, worship or not, have much or little, do Christmas this way or that … none of that matters. What matters is healing every day.
What matters is touching those we love and who love us. Being “one” with “my many” every day of the week and year. Which is why for me this resonates …
“So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.”
Is not about Christmas. It’s not about a baby. It’s not about a perfectly decorated church and/or home. It is not about one day. It’s about healing every day of the year. It’s about the many and one together. It’s about love without condition in each and for each.
It is about love that heals.