Perhaps it is laziness, or maybe it's just me, but with this year's run-up: the continued global struggle against public references to Christmas, the minor backlash against said global struggle, the fashion trend of evangelical mega-churches closing their doors on Christmas day (even though it fell on a Sunday), etc., it seems to me that the reflections in The Troglodyte's inaugural post still applies. Of course, given its Chestertonian roots, I'm not all that surprised. As we await the coming of the Magi on Epiphany and the end of Christmas this year, you be the judge:
Let us consider that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, AND that the Word came forth from a hole in the earth. We are familiar with the story of the Christ child in manger (no crib for a bed and all) but what is often forgotten is the nature of first-century Palestinian stables, namely that they were caves. So, not only was the Son of God born like an ordinary baby, and just as dependent on a mother, but, though His mother was only a traveler, He entered the world in the manner of an outcast. It is clear that once Jesus’ birth (like an outlaw) occurred, the concept of the place of the outlaw, the outcast, or the poor man changed radically. Just as man is elevated by God assuming his form, more too are the lowly elevated. If God chose that particular act of supreme humility, then how could any man rightly be the means to another man’s end? Therefore, one element is the recognition that individuals are important; that personal ties to individuals are important. This element of solidarity is traditionally attached to the shepherds , fulfilling the obligation put to them by the news from the heavenly hosts to adore the newborn King.There were many opportunities on national and international stages to turn to the Light last year, where many did, and many did not: tsunami relief, inaction in Darfur, Terri Schiavo, the papal events of April, questions of torture, embryonic stem cell research legislation, Hurricane Katrina, even the ID debate and the Vikings "Love Boat" scandal. But how many millions of daily opportunities were there just as crucial as any of these from an eternal perspective? Indeed, may more of us remember where to turn in the new year.
The Magi, the traditional scapegoats for popular gift-giving carry the sense of search and discovery, the desire for the unexpected, with hope for wisdom. The discovery that the lights of their own intellects faded in comparison to the light from the cave mirrors our own unrest in the pauses of our hectic schedules. Similarly, the anxiety for righteousness can also blind our search as we jump to judge this season for others. It is ultimately in these elements' emptiness that we can limit the insanity of pride’s dominion over our souls. Through these difficulties we will see so long as we affirm our belief in the mysteries of Christ in the difficulties of life, including the skepticism, the rationalism, and the secularism bombarding the story of the Incarnation.
As we stumble in the dark, may we remember where to turn in hope for the light in our search for the Big Idea. Merry Christmas.
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