Something extraordinary happened in the birth of Jesus. No one bothers to write tales of wonder about the birth of most of us: confounding tales of deep simplicity and wild extravagance; no room at the inn and choirs of angels; the politicos already attuned to the threat to power.
We come looking for a savior and king. Something in us yearns for the perfect leader, the one who will make it all right, with enough for everyone, the end of death and sorrow and pain.
But the prince of peace would not be king. He said to serve each other the way we have been served. The supposed savior said it is, in fact, your own faith that makes you whole. The one who shines a light on the path to the Tree of Life said that you – you and me – you are the light of the world.
And the one slaughtered on a cross did not call us to receive salvation kneeling at the foot of that tree. The way of Jesus calls us all the way to the terrible end hanging from the top, nailed to the gnarly limbs of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil: a death by submission to connection, by willingness to release the isolation of ego; death to fear; death to selfishness and the violence it engenders; the overwhelming death of embracing the pain, fear and sorrow of life without turning away, without running to hide, with no father or regiment of angels to take us down from that hanging before the last ounce is wrung out.
There is a barrier, a chimera, a lonesome valley and dark night of the soul that stands in the road between the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. We must ultimately walk it by ourselves. No one is born again without the lonely death on that tree. No one finds the other end of that path by staying stuck on their knees at the foot of the cross of Jesus.
O Holy Night. Be born again: born through every step of pain and suffering; born to the last wretched and lonely breath, stolen by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Be born to your true light, the light of your life. Walk as a companion and not a king.
© Two Trees in the Garden. Feel free to quote, as useful, with proper reference.