72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
   and has remembered his holy covenant,

73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
   to grant us 74that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness
   before him all our days.

The story we join when we read the nativity narrative is a long story. It did not start yesterday or the day before. It stretches back to the “ancestors”, into the remote reaches of history.

It is a story in which, people who are open to probe and explore the winding trail it follows, discover that there is a consistent thread that runs through the entire tale. Those who read from the beginning to the end learn that the core of all existence is a reliable pulse of life.

Beneath all the changes, uncertainties, turmoils and confusions that so often unsettle day to day affairs on the surface of life, there is a steady stream of life that never fails. There is a faithful heartbeat that holds. People are born; they live and they die. They experience joy, beauty and at times unimaginable tragedy and suffering. And yet they persevere; the story goes on. There is an indomitable life force that nothing can defeat

The challenge of life is to find this deep force at the heart of existence and bring myself into alignment with this surge of energy and goodness that is the true nature of life.

The story of Jesus’ life does not begin well. It starts in poverty, alienation, division, danger, and tragedy (see Matthew 2:16-18, a story that does not appear on many Christmas cards). And so, as it begins in pain, Jesus’ journey on this earth in material form, ends with betrayal, rejection, mockery, injustice, and agonizing suffering. But, these tragic realities do not have the final word.

That Spirit of life that sustained Jesus all along his sorrowful way, was never defeated. It continues to this day manifesting in the lives of multitudes of people in acts of kindness, generosity, nobility and compassion. Nothing can stop that indomitable power of life that Zechariah celebrated in his song of praise to God.


In the midst of all the changes and uncertainties of life, what helps me to experience the steady faithfulness of that Presence who sustains all creation?

(Dorothy Dahli Photo. Mary Filer Window. St. Philip Anglican Church, Victoria, BC)