As Advent and Christmas approach, the uneasy alliance between the sacred and the secular makes itself more obvious. Most of us have one foot in each world, even when we claim the religious high ground. You have to live in the world but not completely immerse yourself in it. That is the goal.
Even as a deeply spiritual person, I find the “reason for the season” people just as annoying as the purely secular people. Christmas is more quiet and explosive than any of our banal assertions for or against it. The truth about it is hidden in plain sight, in the songs and the images and the accoutrements of our traditions, but we’ve lost the eyes to see. Eyes of the heart. This is the trouble with Christmas.
While we have petty cultural wars over sacred vs. secular and “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays”, the one thing necessary slips in quietly behind enemy lines and is born where we least expect it. The uncontrollable mystery is born into the world outside of the crowded inn of popular opinion when we leave no room for a reality not of our making.
My Advent prayer, for me and you, is that we have eyes to see what we need and hearts ready to receive it when it comes.