A little child’s world is one of mystery. This mysterious world is also his/her normal. Discoveries are made every day: hitting your head when you fall out of bed produces pain; touching the flame of a candle, too; lemons look better than they taste; toilet paper can reach from the bathroom all the way to the living room; daddy’s coffee tastes yucky; big noises are scary, and on and on . . . Many mysteries become known things as the child grows older. But, not all things get clearer, even for adults. How things work, why things happen, when will this trial be over, who’s in charge, to name a few in the ongoing category. For the child, this state of affairs is simply life as he/she knows it. For most adults, however, this childlike approach has worn thin and is often aggravating.
Scripture has many phrases which cause great consternation: ‘in the fullness of time,’ and ‘The Lord is not slow . . . as some understand slowness,’ to name just two. After four centuries of Divine Silence following the age of the Old Testament prophets, Jesus came ‘in the fullness of time.’ For most, 400 years would seem very slow indeed. And how did God figure the fullness part of this timing? It hearkens back to the Egyptian captivity where Israel remained for 430 years. When the time was ‘right,’ God chose Moses to return to rescue his people. So many questions arising from these phrases kept shrouded in God-mystery!
Almost every aspect of the Christmas story brings up questions which Scripture scrupulously avoids answering. (Well, there’s this verse in Proverbs 25:2 which may point to one reason for that: “God conceals the revelation of his word in the hiding place of his glory.”) So, what’s a devoted disciple of Jesus to do? I do apologize but here is the clearest answer I’ve found that I can offer: Embrace the mystery! Become childlike with all these unanswered things. Be wide-eyed with wonder at the Invitation of our Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! Dare to be like David in his declaration to his wife, Michal, when she berated him for removing his Kingly robes and dancing like a street urchin in his underwear: ‘I’ll be even more undignified than this!’ Can we dare to ooh and aah like little ones agape at the beauty of this season, to revel despite all the unknowns, not having a care that we are clueless or what others might think, to dance like no one’s looking? Can we celebrate the knowns, all the while cognizant of the deepening darkness around us? Can we feast at the table spread before us in the presence of our enemies? Is He Worthy? PD