Dear Friends –
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Cheers to the Winter Solstice!
For the last five years, our family has chosen to send out a Christmas video in lieu of a traditional card. It always seems like a good idea until I start receiving beautiful pictures and messages from across the country. The cards communicate so much joy and holiday perfection that it makes me want to disseminate pretty pictures of my family too, instead of posting a bizarre video on Youtube. As long as the Internet exists, so too does our foray into absurdity. However, as C.S. Lewis once said, “We are embarked” and for the other four members of my family, there is no going back. Every year, it takes patience, creativity, humor and teamwork. This year, it also took a little more trust, at least on my part.
As I age, I tend to feel ever more foolish during the filming process and critical of how I look in the final product. This year, it’s more ridiculous than ever. But as Tim wrapped up the editing process, and I began to fret about what people would think, I read a reflection from Richard Rohr, O.F.M., one of our favorite spiritual writers and advisors. It was about being a “holy fool.”
According to legend, every once in a while, St. Francis would do something really ridiculous to embarrass himself in front of the people of Assisi. He paraded down the street in nothing but his underwear. He played seesaw on the town fountain all day long. He spoke to animals loudly and without shame. He never wanted people to see him as “more” than he really was.
Obviously, I’m no saint, but I can learn from the quest of the “holy fool.”
When you are a “holy fool” you’ve stopped trying to look like something more than you really are. That’s when you know, as you eventually have to know, that we are all naked underneath our clothes, and we don’t need to pretend to be better than we are. I am who I am, who I am, who I am; and that creation, for some unbelievable reason, is who God loves, precisely in its uniqueness. My true identity and my deepest freedom comes from God’s infinite love for me, not from what people think of me or say about me….
If you watch this year’s Christmas video, or scroll through the past years, the characters in the videos aren’t the “real me,” but they aren’t any less me than the woman I am sweating at the gym, studying theology, or cooking dinner. The videos are simply the most embarrassing versions currently on film.
The real me is who I am as I am held by God in Love. When I remember that, it doesn’t matter what kind of “fool” people take me to be and I have the courage to hit the Send button to my Christmas card list (and ultimately to all of you).
If I were going to say anything about my family, beyond what you can see in the video, it is this: I am proud they have the confidence to be “fools” for at least one more year. From Tim to Molly, they know who they are and they know they are loved. What more could a mom ask for?
I hope that over the next two weeks, there are more times of joy and peace than sadness and stress and that somehow, at some time, you get to play the “holy fool” and experience the freedom it brings.
Team Kirks Christmas 2014 – “Give It Away Now”
In case you have time on your hands and want to watch some old foolishness, you can click on these links to see past years’ folly.
Team Kirks Christmas 2013 – “Sabotage”
Team Kirks Christmas 2012 – “So What You Want”
Team Kirks Christmas 2011 – “Carol of the Bells”
Team Kirks Christmas 2010 – “Merry Christmas, Yo”