Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Blind {Unspoken Truth Spoken Everywhere}

Warning:  The following does contain faith-based ideas...however, it is the author's intention that nobody should be hurt or harmed by the reading of this material!!  :)

My little two year old niece came over yesterday.  She came in through the front door and was immediately mesmerized by my Christmas tree.  I think she touched every ornament she could reach and asked me over and over, "what is this one?"  We talked a brief bit (you know how long two year old conversations last) of the story of each one.  Then, as quickly as we began, we were done.  She was off to another diversion - this time to the nativity set.

She held each wooden piece in her fingers, examined them carefully and asked me who each one was.  After that, she didn't need me any more, didn't need to ask any more questions.  She just went to work - intrigued at the job before her. 

 A question about the Christmas story has always grated on me.  Like a pebble trapped in my shoe, I feel it every time we come back to walk around  in this angel-apparition season.  You know...angels showing up in dreams, in fields, and in the skies.    AND showing up to talk directly to people.

An angel appears to Zachariah and tells him that he and his wife, in their old age, are going to have a baby.  That same angel shows up about six months later to a young girl and tells her that she too is going to have a child.  The response of the old man and the young virgin are the same...."But how??"  The old man's wife is well beyond child bearing years, and the adolescent is a virgin.  Both situations make for impossible conceiving (and birthing) scenarios.

However, the angel gets mad at the old man, but not at the young woman.  Why?  THAT is the pebble-in-my-shoe question, and yesterday I shook out my sneakers and the rock came tumbling out.

I think one reason Zachariah feels the force of anger (and the resulting no-talking-for-nine-months) is because he should have known better.  He was a priest; he had studied the Hebrew scriptures and knew the stories.  He knew God had, in the past, produced biological offspring for people well out of their prime.  He walked blamelessly in the "commandments and the requirements of the Lord", and yet he was blind to what was going on right before him.  It is as if God said sadly, "Zachariah, you know better".

Was he too smart?  Did he know too much?  Had he made up his own story of what he thought God was doing, so there was no room left for what God was actually doing?  What made him blind and unable to enter into the wonder of it all?

Priests, prophets, pharisees, the really religious - those who studied the scriptures - all missed the point.  There was going to be a Baby born that would change the face of the planet.  And somehow a teenage girl, who still probably had lots of questions about how a virgin was going to get pregnant, shrugged her shoulders and said, "OK, I'll watch to see what You are going to do."

But here is the problem....I am a Zachariah.  I am well educated, versed in theology, know the codified systems that I think God should operate in, and am writing my own version of His kingdom.  How do I know that I will not miss the point?  That despite all my knowledge about God, I will turn a blind eye to what He is actually doing?  How do I open my eyes in wonder and not choose a "righteous" blindness?

I think my niece gave me the answer.  As she arranged the nativity, she did so intentionally.  (Can you see it in the picture above?)  No one told her to do this, but it seems she instinctively knew to make sure all the characters involved were to stand facing that Baby.  (Ok, except for the animals...they are evidently exhausted!)  Even though those people didn't understand everything, they were to keep watching Him in wonder and expectation (and thus fight off the epidemic of blindness).   My niece knew an answer far wiser than my sophisticated, educated ways...Just keep your eyes on that Baby!!

By the way, when He grew up, that Baby once said, "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.  You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to infants.  Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work." 

May none of us be in the know-it-all category, but rather find ourselves with two year olds and those folks who crowed around a manger, bewildered and confused...but full of wonder and with our eyes focused on the One laying in the hay.

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