Friday, December 30, 2005

SIX GEESE A LAYING
A reflection for the sixth day of Christmas

We have arrived near the end of the earth’s 2005th cycle around the sun since the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. These are the shortest, darkest days of the year in the northern hemisphere. Plant life is latent in frozen land and water. Many animals hibernate or have migrated to warmer climes. In Indiana, we are living the carol: "In the bleak midwinter, Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood cold as iron, Water like a stone." What a time to receive our True Love’s sixth round of Christmas gifts: Six days of creation.

THE MIRACLE OF LIFE. Today’s gifts are as mysterious and wonderful as a goose laying an egg and a live gosling hatching from it. Who can fathom the miracle of life? Four times I have assisted and watched our children be delivered and draw their first breaths. Four times all that is rational and scientific and explainable has been tearfully eclipsed by wonder and mystery and sacredness. I sing with Michael Card: "Give up on your pondering and fall down on your knees."

DON'T ARGUE, REVERENCE LIFE. If you want to argue for or against evolution or scientific creationism, you’ve lost my interest. If you need to try to reduce the incomprehensible and grand process of the formation of life into an argument for six literal days, you’ve missed the point. If you need to try to prove that what we know as life just happened by chance, my heart goes out to you. The invitation today is not about proving or arguing or convincing or taking sides. The invitation today is to receive all life as sacred, to dare to perceive the world as God’s, to look unto Jesus as the Apostle John looked unto him: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim."

"AND IT WAS GOOD." Light. Sky and atmosphere. Land and seas, plants and trees. Sun by day and moon by night. Living creatures in the seas and sky. Living creatures on the land and humans in the image of God. The summation of each day or epoch of creation is this: "And God saw that it was good." Whether Genesis 1 is poetry or a pattern of life’s progress, above these it roots us all in an infinitely creative, life-giving, beauty-loving, relation-building, grace-bearing God. Creation speaks both of God’s infinite greatness and God’s intimate interest in the smallest detail. And like God, in God’s image, we are created to be.

IN OUR GENERATION. The Gospel writers and Apostles did not miss the connection between creation and Christ. Paul describes Jesus as the "firstborn over all creation" and that "by him all things were created." John writes: "That which was from the beginning…our hands have touched." Michael Card captures something of this mystery: "A mother made by her own child!" In receiving the six days of creation as Christmas gifts, and embracing creation as a mysterious grace, we join with Jesus Christ in bearing life and grace in our world in our generation.

Print credit: Patricia Luke

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