‘To authentically live Christmas is to be born again with that little baby, who speaks constantly to us about the infinite, faithful, and unconditional love of God; who is passionately in love with His creatures, those for whom He does not hesitate to give His very self.’ Mother Elvira Petrozzi
The Babe burns for us at Bethlehem as to spark us into action. Cozy musings on the Incarnation must become movement. He is incendiary and insistent, unwilling to just warm our ‘religious’ instincts. He came to ignite human torches that burn and beam His light into unlovely corners. He incites us to enlighten His world.
Of course, us torches need to be in decent shape. Like a fireplace, we need to be swept clean of debris, our core rock solid as to radiate heat in a life-giving way. He tempers us through trial--real temptations that expose the allegiance of our hearts. He wants undivided devotion, and the one who cracks a door for other gods will suffer serious burns. So we weld broken lines solid in the fire of His winsome love; we make the foundation of our worship sure.
Then we get happy! We joyfully make known the wonders of what He has done! I am more inclined than ever to land my weary ‘torch’ by whomever (busboy or Bishop, an audience of 2 or 2000) and simply burn for a few minutes with a well-timed and aimed word of my testimony. I cannot help it. I am oiled with the Blood and when His Spirit ignites me, I burn. I especially love to do this alongside friends who share equal gratitude for what Jesus has done, is doing, and what He will do in them, fully expectant that He will finish the masterpiece at hand.
I love Evelyn Underhill’s words about the ‘Epiphany’, or showing of the Christ-child, usually associated with the Magi but accomplished through our incendiary lives: ‘The birth of Christ in our souls is for a purpose beyond ourselves; it is because His manifestation in the world must be through us. Every Christian…shall radiate the glowing epiphany of God, catch and reflect His golden Light. You are the light of the world--but only because you are enkindled, made radiant by the Light of the World.’
We burn joyfully. Two top moments of 2020: dancing broke out at our Living Waters trainings after we renounced the spirit of despair and entrusted ourselves to His full will for our lives. All ages and sizes hit the floor like grateful children and joy rose among us. As Abbey said: ‘It’s great no-one really is a dancer here.’ Ours is a level dance floor. We just cannot contain our joy--our bodies insist on burning and bouncing in the light of His Love for us. In the words of Pierre de Chardin, ‘Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.’ We shake off undue introspection and shine.
Our message is clear. Jesus came to displace loneliness and lust and worldly solutions; He ignites us to dignify others with His life and light. His divinized humanity makes ours divine as well. We live to burn up the night.
‘And coming forward at that very time, Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the Child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem’ (Lk. 2:38).