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The journey to Christmas

Posted by Simon Parke, 27 November 2017, 12.01pm

We do not need to speak everything on our walk to Christmas.

We do not need to organise the mystery that is our lives.

Or to rely to heavily on plans made, because life takes place in the cracks between our plans.

And we do not need to speak everything; silence is allowed. 

There is a pressure in a social media world to tell everything, as soon as it happens.

‘This is my news!’

Plus photos.

Mary would have struggled obviously.

‘Pondering these things in her heart,’ would not have gone down well.

‘Hey, what’s all the secrecy and silence, Mary!? You in a mood or something?’

But hold to your birth right. You don’t have to speak everything.

I say this on retreat sometimes, on the last night.

‘Important things have been taking place inside you. When you go back home, you don’t need to speak it all. You can keep the oven door closed. Keep opening the oven door and nothing is cooked well.’

There’s great pressure sometimes to tell our story, to entertain with it…perhaps people expect it.

You see it in churches with people’s testimonies…or on chat shows.

People get their story out, get confessional in a polished sort of way…and something dies.

We do not need to speak everything; we are not legally obliged to put the wonder into words.

Words are not designed for glory; they make its subtle textures harsh.

The very telling of glory, the attempt to put it between commas, separates us from its presence, like a parting couple on a station.

Goodbye!

One becomes two. Our story becomes a thing, something apart from us, brutalised in the speaking and in the (unhelpful/ecstatic) reactions that emerge.

It becomes our brand, our calling card, our obligation…and not our simple fragile evolving ever-changing substance.

It ceases to be our experience, the only place where it has value.

It becomes like the chat show anecdotes, sharp, shallow and polished…and a wall around the celebrity soul rather than a doorway into it.

It becomes like meat thrown to calm a dangerous dog; we tell our story on the phone, on the sofa, in the pulpit, to keep our public happy.

And lose it along the way.

We do not need to speak everything on our walk to Christmas.

We may, like Mary, simply ponder, stay present, keep the oven door closed.

Should wonder unfold, and daily it will, you do not need to speak it.. it’s always a choice.

You are a mystery… not a megaphone.

P.S. This site will feature its own Advent calendar this year. Every day a contemplative window.

Because the journey to Christmas can be a bit of a do.

 
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