When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.Matthew 2:10
“A Thrill of Hope the Weary World Rejoices” – this line, from the classic Christmas carol, “O Holy Night,” touches my heart in a new way this year. Weary AND Rejoicing, I had honestly never fully considered these two things happening simultaneously, yet the line indicates such an event. Choirs of carolers and Christmas programs alike belt out this verse in joyful jubilee. Where have I been? Was I even listening? Sometimes you cannot unsee what you have seen. Suddenly old things look and sound new. I think this might fall into a category our enneagram informed world has coined “both-and.” Our emotionally intelligent, healthy, “doing their work” culture understands both-and and makes every attempt to embrace it. Those who do not are said to continue to live blindly in their false self. This is not to say all dualistic thinking is bad. In fact, differentiation is necessary–otherwise we live in codependency and perpetual people pleasing. This is simply to communicate there is more than one way and both are necessary.
Both-and thinking is not an easy mindset to adopt. The western mind is highly trained in dualistic thinking. We have a duplicitous nature, a lineage that traces itself all the way back to the ancient Greeks. Dualistic thinking is about comparison, differentiation and splitting apart. Yet, the Bible says we are made in the image of God. The Godhead is three in one, a communal God. The community is the trinity; father-son-holy spirit. To separate one is to break His heart, thus the crucifixion was such a searing loss. Jesus was separated from the triune communion. The Father had to forsake Jesus and turn His face away. At the same time, we are duplicitous in nature. We have the capacity to carry around what the Bible refers to as the old man and the new man or the flesh (sin desiring aspect of a human being) and the spirit (God desiring aspect of a human being).
Ancient yoga tradition embraces Buddhism and Taoism as practices to develop this non-dual mind. However, I would argue we also see Jesus model both-and in his interactions and teaching. Consider The Sheep & The Goats (Matthew 25:31-46) or the Wheat & Weeds (Matthew 13: 24-30; “Let them both grow together until the harvest.” vs. 30). Further case and point, Jesus called Peter both The Rock AND Satan in the sixteenth chapter of Matthew. Jesus asks Peter directly, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” vs. 15. Jesus responded, “Blessed are you… vs. 17…. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church….” vs. 18. This is rejoicing! So much rejoicing that Jesus would make Peter the foundation upon which he would build his entire ministry. In the same conversation, moments later, Jesus begins to predict his death to his disciples, explaining that he will suffer and be killed (Matthew 16:21-28). Peter takes Jesus aside, rebukes him, argues, and protests that any suffering should never happen to The Lord. Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God (spirit), but the things of men (flesh).” vs. 23 There it is, both-and Peter is left weary and wondering. This is the same Peter who boldly proclaimed, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” and declared “even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” (Matthew 26: 33,35). Yet, before the rooster crowed, ushering in the dawn of the next day, Jesus was arrested, taken into Roman custody and Peter had denied him not once but three separate times. Scripture says, “And he went outside weary and wept bitterly.” vs. 75
This is our duplicitous reality; we never stop sinning and He never stops forgiving. Thus, there will always be both weariness and rejoicing. Perhaps our practice of yoga this Christmas can make room for both-and. Both powerful movement and peaceful stillness. Both honestly embracing weariness AND responding with rejoicing. Our current weary world is certainly looking for a thrill of hope to rejoice and celebrate. I raise my hand as one of the ones still weary in the waiting yet rejoicing in the gifts of this season. I am holding space for both-and on my mat this month while offering you the same. Let us all practice, rejoicing in the birth of Jesus, the Light of the world, while also acknowledging the shadow side. When the weariness is evident the rejoicing is real. May He find us faithfully practicing both!
Both Weary AND Rejoicing,
CYA Director & Founder of Abundant Yoga