December 15, 2012

Reflections: Christmas story's mystery can lead us to rejoice in God's love


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REFLECTIONS is a column written by members of Maine's faith-based community. Opinions expressed in the column reflect the author's view and not necessarily that of the newspaper.

In order to appreciate the mystery and inexhaustibility of the universe, our age more than any other needs to be taught again the nature of wonder and surprise.

Moreover, if we are to come to the truth about God's ways with us, then we need to learn how to live with a certain astonishment.

Barry Lopez, in his essay "Crossing Open Ground," wrote, "I think of the dignity that is ours when we cease to demand the truth and realize that the best we can have of those substantial truths that guide our lives is metaphorical -- a story."

Are we prepared to wait long enough in the presence of the Christmas story for its tinsel and magic to touch us? In Bernard Shaw's play, "Saint Joan," Joan hears the voices from God. The king is annoyed. "Oh, your voices, your voices," he says, "Why don't your voices come to me? I am the king not you."

"They do come," replied Joan, "but you do not hear them. You have not sat in the field in the evening listening for them. When the Angeles rings you cross yourself and have done with it, but if you prayed from your heart and listened to the thrilling of the bells in the air after they stopped ringing, you would hear the voices as well as I do."

Faith, Joan knew and we discover, is a moistened finger held toward the reality of God's presence in the midst of life. Is it too much to pray that, with Mary, our ponderings, though forged in the crucible of our doubt, will in the end become a tantara avowing a hosanna of belief?

The Rev. Merle G. Steva is minister of visitation at the First Parish Church in Saco.


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