It is Christmas-From Jo

Dear friends, I was struck recently by a phrase I read about the beatitudes: how Jesus calls us “blessed” right in the “basement of our grief.” I’m not sure what struck me, the proximity of ‘blessedness’ and ‘grief’ when it’s such a struggle for most of us to see grief as a blessing, or the marvellous use of the word basement. I’ve always loved attics and delight in the memory of an attic I loved to hide in as a child and the treasures found there. Is what strikes me the challenge of transforming the basement of my grief into the attic of my grief? Whether it’s in the basement or the attic it’s still grief. What changes is my attitude towards it as blessing or curse. As Christians we believe that suffering and joy are an integral parts of the Paschal Mystery (Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection) and also integral parts of the human journey. We need look no further than the intimate intertwining of suffering and joy in birth. But at the same time there is something so mysterious about this that on the level of my emotions it’s quite an effort to go from the basement of my grief to the attic, unless I put my Jesus glasses on which turn everything upside down. Without Jesus, his life and his gospel of good news, the challenge of the Beatitudes and his Sermon on the Mount, I’d be stuck in the basement of my grief, even though it remains at the same time like a hidden treasure in my attic that I’m constantly searching for. Surely for Mary and Joseph that first Christmas was no different. They had not yet heard their son’s words nor experienced his death and resurrection. The journey to Bethlehem had been hard, the pain of birth real, and the stable as cold as an unfinished basement and yet their joy at having birthed a healthy baby boy must have warmed both the stable and the poor shepherds who arrived in the chill of the night. That unfinished basement of a stable was transformed into an attic of treasures by the very presence of God hidden there in a tiny new born. Love, Jo