Sunday, December 24, 2006

Questions for Christmas ... late night wonderings

As the seconds continue to slip away I cannot help but think about the majesty of the events of the day we call "Christmas." It all seems so unlikely. Nearly impossible. Certainly unthinkable. And yet I am convinced they are true. God sent His Son, in the form of a common man, to this fallen planet to purchase us back from the penalty of our sin. Born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died as a common criminal, resurrected to new life on the third day. The story line is better than any Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or the greatest block buster movies of all time.

God. Putting on skin. For us. Amazing. And it makes me think and ask ...

What did Joseph really ... I mean REALLY ... believe about Mary's pregnancy in the deepest parts of his heart?
When Mary said "Let it be to me according to your word" did she "get it?" Did she have a clue what she was getting herself in to??
When Mary was giving birth was the declaration of the angel on her mind or was she just too busy screaming to think about it?
What did it feel like to breast feed and then burp God?
Did Joseph worry about getting into trouble with God? He was, after all, a surrogate father.
What went through the minds of Mary and Joseph when they thought they had lost Jesus coming home from Jerusalem? ("Oh, man. How in the world and I going to explain this to God? I lost His Kid!")
Did God (Jesus) ever ... throw up? ... stump His toe? ... get constipated or get diarrhea? ... ummm, pass gas a little too loudly? ... get mad enough at us to consider quitting the whole "saving us from our sins" thing? ... want to just slap the living day lights out of a pharisee? ... get embarassed by accidently saying something that could be taken the wrong way? ... hate any particular food that, by the way, He had originally created? ... wonder if we were worth it?

There are a lot of other things I ask when it is late, the house is quiet and only my laptop "Tess" and I are awake. But I think you get my point. It was truly a BIG DEAL for God to come to earth. I just spend two days traveling to and from the Chicago suburbs. Nine of us went to worship at Willow Creek as we had obtained free tickets to their Christmas presentation. It was amazing. And it has made me think ... why? Why would a God who could have anything He wanted decide He wanted us ... me? Why would He go to the trouble? The pain? The misery? I am just not worth it. But He thinks I am. We are. His economy must be so different from ours.

But it is really true. People matter to God. Every single one of them. Every single one of us. I have never looked into the eyes of someone Jesus does not love and die to give an opportunity to be adopted into His family. I believe in predestination. I have tried to get away from it but the only way to get it out of the bible is with scissors. I believe in the God given free will of man. I like the idea of being in charge of my own life until things get a bit hairy and then I want to believe that God is in control. And I do make my own decisions. The bible tells me to make good ones therefore I must be free to make them. And yet God is soveriegn. How does that work? How does that paradox find its way into reality and fact on this hard and demanding planet? I seem to believe that two things that just do not add up in my brain do add up in God's. So I will believe Him and trust Him for it.

Christmas. CHRIST-mas. The day we celebrate the coming of the Christ Child. I am so glad that it is true. I wish I understood it better. I wish I had more answers to my questions. I wish I could make the paradox of it all less paradoxical. I am a pastor. I am supposed to understand these things. But I am currently churchless so I can be honest without worrying about the deacon's or elders nailing me for it. Here is my honest answer ....

I haven't a clue.