Due to a WordPress error – the date of this is wrong. It is actually Monday, December 5.
A light snow is falling as I exit the subway. It’s so beautiful. I stop for a moment and watch the flakes. They are all different, I’m told. Not one the same – each one a beautiful reflection of the Designer’s creativity. Just one more sign of a Creator’s love.
I work with a diverse group of people. One of my colleagues, an African-American woman has become a friend and unknowingly, an educator. Every time we have a conversation I walk away challenged in the best possible way. My friend helps me understand a different perspective – a perspective based on the color of skin and therefore, a life experience that I do not share.She challenges me without even knowing she is doing so.
Last week, we were sitting together at a meeting. As I looked over at her, I noticed that just below the hairline on her neck was a small, delicate tattoo. The tattoo was one word – the word beloved. On the way back to our office I asked her about the tattoo. She smiled and said “It’s just to remind myself of who I really am.” When people want to dismiss her, when they want to deny her humanity, and not allow her a voice, she still knows at her core that she is beloved. When the headlines tell a story of prejudice and discrimination, my friend remembers she is beloved. She knows who she is, and no one can take that away from her.
Beloved – that beautiful word that tells us we are cherished, treasured, owned by love.
Amid the crazy that has become Christmas in the Western world, there is a story that calls us into calm, that calls us into adoration and worship. It’s a story that has lasted centuries, a story that won’t die. The heart of the story is a small baby come into the world – God become man. The soul of the story is a conquering of death – but that story comes years later. The heart of the story is a God who so loved us that he chose to walk among us, chose to confine himself to place and time, to experience the joys and struggles of a life trapped inside a human body. He, who was and is eternity, restricted to impermanence and transience.
He did this to show us how much he loved us, to call us his beloved ones.
It is branded on my friend’s skin permanently; may it be branded on our hearts eternally.
The snow is still falling on a city that is both beautiful and broken. I sigh and move forward, resolute and ready to live as a beloved one.
“The engaged mind, illuminated by truth, awakens awareness; the engaged heart, affected by love, awakens passion. May I say once more – this essential energy of the soul is not an ecstatic trance, high emotion or a sanguine stance toward life: It is a fierce longing for God, an unyielding resolve to live in and out of our belovedness.” ― Brennan Manning,