Each year as we celebrate Christmas we are invited through the Scriptures to ponder the mystery of divine and human blending. We have journeyed the Advent Highway with a God on the move. Therefore it somehow seems just right that the birth of the Christ, the pivotal point of the divine human blending, is set in a temporary lodging. While Bethlehem was the scriptural birthplace of the Messiah, his little home village was Nazareth.
There is no set place or time for the God encounter. We cannot hold it in a statement or lay out the finest strategic plan for it to happen. It belongs to no one category of people, no one culture, no one religion. Most times it takes place in the ordinary routine of life, like it was for the shepherds, surprised on the job by the angels and who out of curiosity and excitement rushed to Bethlehem to see what had come to pass:
And they found the child lying in a manger because
chooses the strangest places
to enter our human conversations
with a word
molded in earthed soul,
confounding to the logic of the mind.
Ah, Puzzle God of cryptic clues!
Job uncovered your fertile word
buried in a heap of ashes,
and Jonah heard it echo
in the hollow belly of a whale.
It has been found in prison cell,
by mountain lake, on city street,
in solitude, amid the crowds,
upon a cross, in sunset glow.
No pattern, no predictability!
But soul-perception seeks it out.
This Word the shepherds found
wrapped up in baby clothes
and sleeping in a manger.
Today, I found its comfort in a colleague’s help, and then its challenge in the tears of a young woman whose life is falling apart. Where have you found it recently?
Elizabeth Ferguson, OP