Friday, December 12, 2014

Advent Thought #13, December 12

Quoting Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods, p. 84.  (In context he is recounting the plot of Our Town, one of my favorite plays, when Emily, now dead, exclaims to the stage manager that "Do any human eings very realize life while they live it--eery, every moment?"  And the stage manager says, "No. The saints and poets, maybe--they do some."  A laconic reply.)

"The saints and poets, maybe--they do some," because they slow down, and think and look beyond the activities to their longings and somehow broach the possibility of meaning that transcends their actions.  In short, if we are to truly understand who were are, we must understand what bread can and cannot do."

I would add this morning, a clear and cold (27 degrees) December morning in Northwest Georgia, that we should do the same for Christmas.  We must understand what Christmas can and cannot do.  It cannot do magical things.  It is a day on the calendar.  We worship the day and some mystique that has grown up around it, rather than the Person whose birthday we are supposed to believe it is, (and I don't, but like the slaves before the Civil War were all considered to be born on New Year's Day, he took the form of a servant and we don't get to know the actual birthday.  That's not important, only that he was born in a physical body).

The day is so shrouded in myth and tradition and evergreens and rich food that we easily overlook, or do not dig, to the rather grim reality of a poor couple being asked to leave home so that the baby can be born according to prophecy rather than in the midst of family (and perhaps, due to the scandal, that was a good thing in the long run).  We do not see that the evil king wanted the baby dead so much that he had other babies of the same age slaughtered (a story I can't help but compare to abortion--in order to protect the rights of those who were raped or victims of incest, we let all inconvenient babies be aborted.)  We do not see the rather nasty conditions in which she had to give birth.  We do not see the family became refugees.

Not to be a curmudgeon; I love Christmas, more now than in the past.  But I don't let it wear me out.  You can only look at my house to see that.  I would rather write these reflections than decorate!

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