We are almost inevitably the products of our society and our age. As such we are formed in an expectation of how things are best achieved. If we want to do something, get somewhere, or change something, we set about working out how best to bring that about. We make a decision, come up with a plan and off we go.
We tend to approach even spiritual things in this way. While that is alright as far as it goes, we need to learn pretty quickly that God cannot be managed by us in this fashion. The central task of the spiritual life is coming to terms with this fact. Until we do, our spiritual quest can be one of frustration and disappointment. In response to this frustration some simply attempt to try harder. They think of themselves as the problem. Some distance themselves from others (society, family, the Church). They think of others as the problem. Some distance themselves from God, believing that he either doesn’t care or doesn’t exist. They identify God as the problem.
Yet, what if there is no problem, other than the need to change the way we view these things? What if we stopped focussing on our plans and expectations, and simply made ourselves available to God?
Christmas is a good time to do this. During this season we would do well to simply contemplate the amazing fact that God has entered our world as a vulnerable newborn and, by so doing, has given us the central point of reference for how he works in our lives. God is not dependent on our plans, and God works in ways that undermine our expectations.
This article is part of Faith Journey, a newsletter from the National Centre for Evangelisation.