Thursday, December 17, 2015
Why Would I Believe Such a Crazy Story?
An angel appears to a young, poor, virgin Jewish girl and tells her that she will miraculously become pregnant with the Son of God. I know. Crazy.
Although, is that story so much harder to believe than the notion of a non-intelligent, but self-creating universe? Both beliefs take faith. It's just a matter of following the path of greater evidence.
But I digress.
It's a crazy story, but it's everything.
I see evidence of God everywhere. It's a no-brainer to me. In the creativity of leaf-cutter ants, in the way my skin heals itself, in the astonishment of a baby--an entirely new person--emerging from his mother's womb. In the way that Beethoven affects me, in the sunset over the Serengeti, in homemade strawberry ice cream, in the fierceness of my love for children I did not birth--and in the sublime understanding that I can be moved to my core by these things. Purpose and beauty and goodness and love simply cannot exist if there is no God.
I have no doubt that God exists.
But that doesn't mean I don't have questions about who he is. Because then I think of Ebola and ISIS and slavery and orphans and divorce and paralysis. So I must ask:
Is God good?
Does he love us?
Does he see us?
If he sees, does he care?
Because a lot of the time, it sure doesn't feel like it.
But that's why we celebrate Christmas. Because in Christmas, we remember that God, the designer of leaf-cutter ants, chose to become human, and not just human, but a newborn--totally helpless, totally dependent. He chose to enter our world, our time and space, our dirt and pain and heartbreak, to walk with us and feel with us and cry with us. He got our dirt between his toes and he got sick and threw up and he felt the desire of temptations that could ruin his life--just like we do.
Because he is good.
Because he loves us.
Because he sees us.
Because he does care.
I know, I know. It doesn't answer the question of why AIDS or why rape or why toddlers fall out of windows and die. Or why he's waiting so blasted long to fix it all.
We just can know, definitively, that he sees us; he knows us; he loves us. Which is why hope and joy and love are not just positive words that look nice on Christmas cards. Jesus came, and thus came the existence of hope, joy, and love. Without him, they would just be pretty words that make us feel good until the reality of life sinks in again.
God with us. It doesn't make any sense at all; that is, until we realize that it's the only story that makes sense of our lives.