Can a Star Stop (part 2)
Or… Stop messing with the miracles
I remember so clearly the day…the exact moment when I learned there was no actual Santa Claus. I cried, not because I was worried about myself, but because this miraculous belief that good will and toys would be transported to children all over the world on Christmas Eve…. was just a myth, a myth that evaporated into the chasm of childhood innocence. I knew I would be ok; my parents would make sure of that. But what about all the other children in the world? God, what were you thinking? Couldn’t you just make a Santa?
Let me say now, I have come full circle. I do believe in Santa. Not in a magical person but in a spirit that is somehow wrapped up in the miracles of Christmas. When we are in sync with God, WE are Santa. Santa is simply a human expression, a personification of the spirit of giving. We give money, buy toys, do acts of generosity that we would not normally do. And we love the mischievous nature of hiding presents and the anonymity of letting the credit of our giving go to this mysterious character.
So what does this have to do with the “star in the east”? There is a part of me that does not want to know about any earthly explanation. Recently I heard someone suggest that the angel who appeared to the shepherds might have been just a person who witnessed the birth and was so excited about it, they ran to the shepherds. In the overwhelming joy of the moment everyone started singing. What can I say? That made me angry. A voice deep down shouted “stop messing with the miracles.” Part of me will always want the Angel in the long white robe and the chorus of heavenly hosts filling the sky. I was forced to dig a little inside my psyche to see why this was all so upsetting for me. The God of my childhood lived in heaven, not caught up in the grime of a fallen world. He would come down occasionally to smite the evil doers. I could stand on the sidelines and shout “Go get ‘em, God. Smite away.” In this scenario the restoration of the world is all up to God; I really have no part in that. God might use me here and there, but for the big stuff, God brings out the lightning, the fire and the big Angels.
I have come to find a God who is not so distant at all. In fact, God is among us, with us. That is what the Christmas story is all about. He shall be called Emmanuel, God with us. The fact that God sent Jesus into the world at a time when the stars literally aligned is no less miraculous than if God had pointed to a star and said “Go”. I have come to believe that my childhood vision of God was off base. God does move in the grime of the fallen world and finds beauty in the midst of it. God calls us to do things beyond what we can imagine. WE ARE THE MIRACLES. It’s a little scary, right? We are not on the sidelines. No, God says those words to us, “You’re up. Go get ‘em. Take my love out into the world. And it’s ok.. because I’m right here with you.”
Grace and Peace at Advent
Grace and Peace at Advent.