For Advent 1 click here
We were discussing the Angels announcement to the Shepherds. 'Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people'. It was a phrase I'd heard so many times that I wasn't totally paying attention. Someone in the group asked the question 'What is the good news that you need to hear to bring you great joy?'
The answer that came to mind was immediate and flippant, it was only through excessive use of my filter that I didn't say it out loud. 'Good news? Congratulations Peter, you have just won free liposuction.'
I smiled to myself and then froze.
Sometimes my brain takes me to places I wish it didn't.
"Peter, what is it about your body image that causes you to make jokes like that? What does that kind of joking do for you?"
Earlier this week I'd been reflecting on my need to always have something about me to hate. The object of that hate has shifted over the years, but even though I'm getting emotionally healthier all the time it seems that I still need something to hate to make me feel o.k. Somehow all those sermons about self-denial transformed into thoughts of self-hatred. It's the old tape that still plays in the back of my mind, if I can just hate [blank] enough, then I can use the energy of that hate to change it.
I know that doesn't work. I've written here before about how Hate cannot fuel the engine of Change. But still I keep hating. I see the problem, but I do nothing to change the status quo, nothing to reach toward the solution. If I stop hating my body what will I hate instead? I think that is the fear behind the hatred for me....I need to remember that Perfect Love casts out Fear.
It is easier to cling to self destructive behaviors than reach for healing. Lies always seem so much more enticing than the truth. It is easy for me to convince myself to do nothing.
"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11
The message of a Savior is one that I still need, even after all these years that I have walked this pilgrim journey. It seems that the Spiritual Life consists of identifying more and more areas that I need saving from. I need good news of great joy. I need Jesus to remind me that I don't need to hate myself to be loved by Him.
'What is the good news that you need to hear to bring you great joy?'