I thought I’d share with you a conversation my partner, Dr. Mia Kalef, and I enjoyed this week. We recorded this in our living room and thought it might be worth sharing. The night before we were visiting friends, who were expecting a baby immanently. The little guy arrived the next day! The conversation circled around redemption and it’s relationship to birth, of humans yes, but of the New Human more generally. We thought of Paul’s image of the whole of creation in birth pangs, but that very pressure was the necessary prelude to a new order. This is the essence of all apocalyptic scenarios.
And, of course, Advent always begin with the “mini-apocalypse. The Christ event which is recorded in the New Testament is set down as an apocalyptic occurrence. In Jesus, the whole of creation, 13.8 billion years, is gathered up – the whole of creation “centrates” in him. By his presence, Light and Love incarnate, the darkness is revealed. And, as the author of John’s gospel puts it, the darkness in the world could not receive him. The darkness does not want to be called out. Because those who dwell in darkness (in unconscious or conscious collusion with that which is anti-life—evil is live reversed—have only two choices. Repent of the darkness and turn to the light in devotion to the Source of All, or foster more darkness. This is the crisis of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, according to the gospels.
Herod is the personification of the forces within us that are attracted to darkness and refuse to repent. The only option for those whose darkness is being exposed by light (and who refuse to repent) is to rage, attack, and undermine the light, which is the absolute sovereignty of Love. But the wise ones (Magi), are those who know the movement of the stars, follow the light of cosmological wisdom that points directly to the source of redemption.
The birth pangs of Mary are the birth pangs of the totality of creation, contracting in her, to give birth to the New Human. This is the story of redemption. But the story doesn’t guarantee our redemption, by virtue of telling it over and over again every Advent/Christmas. It must become the pattern of our own lives. We must, with Mary, feel these contractions within us – the contractions that contain all the evil, all the violence, all the greed, all the fear of our species and all the fear that is running our own lives. Out of this willingness to see clearly, to come to consciousness of what is and what is coming, a New Human is born, the Christ child. This is the one we must birth from within if we are to be participants in the drama of redemption.
Here is the audio of the conversation.