In the beginning was the Word,John 1:1-5
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
For many of us, this has been perhaps one of the darkest years of our lives. Each of us has been impacted in different ways but it has been a year in which it has been virtually impossible to ignore the darkness that surrounds us.
I need not explain what darkness the pandemic has brought. People have died alone, terrified. Healthcare workers have been overwhelmed. Millions have been very sick and some will never be the same. Massive numbers of people have lost their jobs and have been dependent on stopgap measures that may run out any day.
Devastating fires terrorized the west coast, with more ferocity than any other year. Wild storms of all kinds have raged throughout our country and around the world, as climate change accelerates and not nearly enough is being done to slow it down.
Egregious acts of violence against people of color, often perpetrated by police, have left tragedy in their wake and spurred millions throughout the world to protest – with some looting and burning, others getting tear-gassed for peacefully proclaiming that Black Lives matter. (How could they not matter?)
And then there was the presidential election and all of the craziness before, during, and after it. Deep divisions seem to only grow deeper and conspiracy theories abound – still. In a year with so much tragedy, we have not been united for we cannot even agree on the facts.
Perhaps one of the hardest parts for me has been seeing growing numbers of people spew forth ideas that I can only describe as crazy. And I’m not talking about mental illness but what appears to be more akin to the brainwashing of cult behavior. People ready to fight to the death for notions that are patently absurd.
What is happening to us? How can people become so lost in hate and lies and irrationality? Is the world going crazy?
As I’ve sat here typing, it has become Christmas. It has become Christmas so slowly, so silently, so gently that I would not know if I had not looked at the clock.
A pure white snow is falling outside, creating deep piles I need not fight with. I hear nothing but the occasional snowplow and click of my furnace.
Silent night. Holy night.
I am reminded that I too believe some pretty crazy stuff.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe that all that exists, from the billions of galaxies in the universe to the trillions of cells in my body, have come forth from the love who is Father, Son and Spirit.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. How is it that God can beget a Son who is as eternal as He is? How can a Virgin conceive “by the Holy Spirit”? How can she bear a Son and remain a virgin? I cannot understand this any more than I can understand the billions and trillions.
I believe some pretty crazy stuff. And there are many people who are prepared to tell me just how crazy I am for believing in such “fairy tales”.
But I believe.
I believe what I cannot understand but what has been revealed in my heart.
I believe that love is stronger than death and that the light has conquered the darkness, even when it seems that all I see are death and darkness.
I believe because I love. I believe because I have been loved.
I believe because I have seen over and over how a love greater than myself pours itself out for me and through me without my ever deserving it.
I believe that the Word was made flesh, that He made His dwelling among us and that we have seen His glory (John 1:14).
Through Him and in Him, we have received His fullness, grace upon grace, that we might share in His divine life.
Yes, it is pretty crazy stuff. But I gaze upon Him and all I can do is believe…
To Him be all glory and praise, forever. Amen.