Tis the season of many people.
Some you love. Some you don’t.
Some you tolerate. Some you can’t.
Some you hold onto. Some you let go.
‘Tis the season of community, whether we want it or not.
“Community” doesn’t always fulfill its promise. Sometimes we don’t know what we expect and other times we hoist unrealistic expectations on others and ourselves, leaving parties and gatherings empty-hearted.
Henri Nouwen said, “Community is the fruit born through shared brokenness.” If this is true, our brokenness may be an ingredient essential to our connecting.
In the quiet economy of our hearts, brokenness is often shunned and hidden, being perceived as weakness. Perplexingly, this concealing trades intimacy, forgiveness, and connection for the illusion of strength, safety, and predictability.
Most of us want to be seen, heard, and understood, because we intuit how unknown we are, to others and ourselves, fueling the epidemic of our time—loneliness.
Loneliness has nothing to do with being alone or with solitude. It’s about being in a room filled with people and feeling alone and disconnected. I can affirm this happens to me at countless Christmas parties this time of year.
Yet it is often in quiet conversations when we sense the deep river of heartache that runs through the veins of us all. It’s here we truly see, hear, and understand each other and yes, it’s here the Christ Child promises to meet us.
Community is a by-product of living in communion with one another, formed by truly being present to each other. It’s the deep confidence of knowing we’re not alone and the sharing freely of ourselves from the strength of that foundation.
Our brokenness is an essential ingredient of wonder at Christmas…in our being broken together, we heal together, so participating in the mystery and promise of the Christ Child, and what we were created to become.
A broken community of intimacy and wonder.
The image of the Colorado Evergreen with Pine Cones is (c) Lancia E. Smith.