Many, if not most of us these days, seem to struggle with what we might call a “crisis of identity”. We all wonder where we’re supposed to be, what we’re supposed to do, and most importantly, who we are. I know this happens to many of us in the few years after college.
We’re supposed to find ourselves, discover everything about who we are and why we’re here. Isn’t that why we went to college? But we don’t. Well, most of us don’t – and that’s ok.
It’s hard, trying to discover one’s identity. Because it’s something that stems in part from our relationships with others. College is, for some, a time where we learn better about what it means to have a relationship with someone; or rather, a time where we learn to choose to have a relationship with someone. My brother Patrick recently wrote an awesome article on the subject of fraternity, and the importance of having good male relationships for men that I suggest you check out.
Our relationships help form us, help us discover more about ourselves. How do we react to so and so after a long day? Why does that person rub us the wrong way, and we do we respond? Are we the one pursuing friendships, or do we simply let them come to us?
All of these are reflections on us because each of these involves a personal choice as to how we welcome the other. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “the crew”, signifying a group that always hangs together. Their identity comes, in part, from the relationship they have with each other as a whole.
Who we are, then, is defined in part by these relationships, because each one, no matter how superficial, is real and personal. We get to choose whether or not to enter into them.
This should give cause for thought. Because we are in part defined by our relationships, we should take care to choose wisely. Even as we can choose to have a relationship with Beauty, we can choose not to. Evil is real and personal. It’s something that we can choose, which is scary. Because we can so often be blinded in picking well, we can oftentimes pick quite poorly, even when we intended otherwise! It’s a scary thought that I could be blind enough to not choose well – that should scare you, too.
But our identity as a human person is not rooted in evil. It’s rooted in something far greater and better – Love. Our personhood, our human identity, is intrinsically rooted in an act of complete self-giving, in a pouring out from above, in Love. Sounds too good to be true? But it is! If God is Love, and we’re created in an act of Love, then our reflection and identity of our very human soul reflects that from which we came, Love.
But it’s hard to have a relationship with Goodness, with Love Itself. I mean, it sounds nice and all, but…it’s a little far away.
But it’s not. He’s not.
“For behold, I bring you good news of great joy. For unto you is born, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
And Love came down and took on human flesh. The God who so loves you, yes you, came down and took on human nature. In a way so that we could better get to know Him. Because we are made for a relationship with Love!
It’s hard to imagine having a relationship with some distant Being. But it’s much easier to approach a human being, right?
So often, we crave for a relationship that fulfills, a relationship that satisfies. But we come short. Because our infinite longing can only by satisfied by an Infinite Love. So as you go into this new year, take a moment to remember this time, this holiday or “holy day” of Christmas, which is a special gift for us. Important because it’s our celebration of why we’re here.
That we’re not forgotten. That we are beloved. Wanted. Terribly. Wanted so very, very much that our Creator, our Father, would send His Son to come down. And He would come down with the full knowledge of what would happen with His Passion. And yet He would still choose to be born.
The mystery of a Child who is God!
We here at Passionately Loving the World hope that you see this mystery, that you encounter it.
Remember this, as you go into this new year. Remember the Babe laying in the manger as we surge forward, full of hope and enthusiasm. Yes! You may be scared at why you’re here, scared because you don’t have answers. But it’s ok – just remember that you are made for so much more.
The question is, what are you going to do about it?
Shamelessly, we hope it’s to go and passionately love the world.