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I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord; “plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

the CULTIVATING

journal

Christmas Leaving and Meeting

December 8, 2018



 

The Bible is a well that satiates and increases our thirst at the same time.

As in recently, I was reading Matthew’s story of the Canaanite woman, and Christmas showed up in a new light.

In chapter 15, an unnamed woman leaves her northern home of Tyre to travel south. She’s a Canaanite, a non-Jew.  At the same time Jesus is moving northward from Galilee, into a non-Jewish, pagan district. She goes south, he travels north, and they meet.

In his meditations on Matthew, Orthodox scholar Erasmo-Leiva Merikakis notes, “In order for their meeting to take place, they each have first to leave their native region behind.”

It’s now Advent, and having read this, I couldn’t help but notice the correlation of Jesus leaving his native region (the Father’s side) to take on our flesh and our humanity, and we having to leave our ‘native region’, to meet and engage in the life he comes to offer us.

Our native region?

To leave our shallow treasures. Our self-sufficiency. Our dependencies, appetites and addictions. To leave our restlessness and anxieties.

To leave the burden of familiarity that keeps us locked in a room of our own making.

Yet, to leave is not only to move away, but to move towards.

All real living is meeting.”- Jewish theologian Martin Buber states in his seminal work: I and Thou. How his words poignantly reflect this story!

We all of us, like the Canaanite woman, are compelled to leave our native regions, to move towards a life-giving meeting.

To meet Emmanuel, God with us.

 



The magnificent image of Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds, United Kingdom is courtesy of the marvelous architectural photographer, Michael D Beckwith, of Unsplash. Thank you, Michael!



 

Roy Salmond

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