Advent 4: A place of greater safety

We’re going to consider safety for a moment.

When or where do you feel safe? Or with whom do you feel safe? You may be surprised at how little safety there is in your life.

My sense of Jesus is that he found safe places hard to come by. There is no evidence he found it with his family, in the synagogue or with his followers.

But we do hear that he would sometimes disappear early into the hills, leaving everyone behind.

Here he was free from the judgements of his family, the hostility of the religious authorities and the demands of his fans and followers.

His disciples didn’t understand this need in Jesus. ‘We couldn’t find you!’ they complain to him, dismayed by his solitude.

But that was exactly the point. He had to get away. I imagine it was about Jesus recovering himself… which meant leaving them. And that’s what safety does for us. It helps us recover ourselves.

So, when do you feel safe? For Jesus, it was a cave; but it my not be a cave for you. Where is your restorative space?

There is no judgement in safety. Someone said to me recently, ‘I have to be careful what I say to my friends, because I know they’ll judge me.’ And I replied, ‘So your friends aren’t a safe place?’

And safety gathers us together; gathers together our splintered self from the four corners of the world; our scattered selves are gathered into one self.

Safety returns us to the simple life. Amid the great complexity of our tasks and our roles, safety invites us into a great simplicity; into the quiet heart beat of our existence.

What a relief that is.

So, we’re pondering safety, the safe places in your life, where you are not judged; where your ripped-apart self can become one self; where your complex life, if only for a moment, can become the simple life; the heart beat heard and known.

I wish that safety for you this Christmas season and beyond.

Wherever, however.

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