Winter Solstice is upon us with today (Sunday) being the longest night of the year. I am reminded of John Chapter 3 verse 30 when John the Baptist is quizzed about his cousin with the underlying idea of who is more powerful, John simply and humbly says “He must increase and I must decrease.” It seems that the two birthdays are also right for the year calendar as well. The winter days get shorter and shorter until December 21st this year followed shortly by the traditional celebration of Christmas, the birth of Jesus. From around that day forward the days become longer until June 21st when the days become shorter. It is also around the feast day of John the Baptist, June 24th. I’m sure by now we know that many of the pagan rites and celebrations on these days of the year were “Christianized.” I don’t think it is coincidence that the days get longer after Christmas and the days get shorter after the Feast day of the birth of John The Baptist. Just a little tidbit for today. Consider yourselves enlightened.
Speaking of enlightened…Christmas is Thursday so I guess I better get out there and buy something, or homemake something to give away. It is almost the end of 2014 which, so far, has been a momentous year for this writer. It’s also the time for year-end lists of stuff, like “the most important stories” or “biggest gaffs” or “whatever…” As with all new beginnings new lists spring up, like the self-imposed-can’t-keep-to-it New Year’s resolutions, but I’ll save that one til later. There is a lot to be thankful for during this past year as well as well as a time to remember some of the tragedies that have befallen us. So from the winter spent in the Czech Republic through the winter spent in California I want to say I have changed a bit, not a lot, just a bit. You can read about them on this blog.
But now, for the time being we are at the last Sunday before Christmas or the 4th Sunday in Advent and the reading today comes from, of course, Luke, the only Gospel that has a section on Jesus’ youth told from a woman’s perspective, namely Jesus’ mother.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God. (LK 1:26-38)
This is a telling reference because of the final line, “…for nothing will be impossible for God.” I like the optimism of this statement. The translation I have shows the verb to be in the future tense not in the past tense. I think the author is telling us anything is possible now and tomorrow. Even attitudes can change, even the world can change. Right now, at least in this country, I feel a polarization of ideologies wherein we are forced to take sides. Even if one side (not ours) does something positive we are forced by our Pavlovian “training” to denounce it. In this state of mind there is no gray area, it is either black or white or left or right. Weakness is being in the gray. It means one is wishy-washy or a flip-flopper or even worse, one of “them.” This is a ridiculous and untenable stance. Sometimes both sides are wrong and need to admit it. And by admitting I am wrong doesn’t make me weak, it makes me human. With new information comes a new perspective. Nothing will be impossible with God. Being truthful with oneself is a matter of acknowledging we are human. Hatred spewing out of the TV machine on a regular basis does nothing in our struggle to find the truth. Us/Them is dangerous. Just because “they” don’t think like “us” doesn’t make them bad. A little searching out from divergent voices can help us in finding the truth. Getting all our information from one source or one type of source is dangerous. One’s perspective can skew the discovery of the real truth. If from my perspective I think everything the President does and says is wrong, even if it is right, colors the way I think because I hear it 24/7 from people who tell me how and what to think. There is always a back story. There are always other perspectives. But it takes work to ferret out what is indoctrination and what is real. So if I believe that nothing will be impossible with God then I am on sure footing that even the impossible can be possible. Then, and only then, there is hope.
So on this last Sunday before Christmas let us all light a candle rather than curse the darkness. The days are starting to get longer.
and so it goes…