Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Big Bang

Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him snugly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them at the inn. -- Luke 2:7
Some Christian groups love to wrap themselves in "tussling over trifles."  They will fight to their dying breaths over whether scientists' so-called Big Bang theory is how life began on this planet.  They much prefer the Biblical story of the universe popping into place in seven days, and that's that.  As I browsed through the news headlines this morning there was a story that a long dormant "super volcano" in Italy is stirring to life.  They credit this volcano with "wiping out the neanderthals."  The implied point of the story by the masters of click-bait news was, of course, this thing could blow and we're all going to be extinct.  So, now whether we want to freak out over a super volcano or climate change we know we have two pretty catastrophic methods for getting wiped out of existence.  If the super volcano does blow, I don't expect many of us will be tussling over whether the earth was formed in seven days or evolved from a big bang millions of years ago.  However, instead of Creationism/evolution and an epic end on par with the Great Flood, there is a more pertinent Big Bang that happens in scripture that has had life-changing impact, and will continue having an impact into the future. That impact is something incredibly insignificant on its surface: a manger filled with straw.

How much more possibly insignificant is an animal's feeding trough?  There are millions of them in the world.  Nobody thinks much about them.  And yet... a Big Bang occurred in one.

From that tiny Palestinian speck on earth, Infinite God, Extraordinary Creativity, Super Divine Intelligence, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace chose to come forth as one of us self-important, loud, arrogant human beings.  He didn't come in a grand Hollywood entrance with thundering earthquakes and searing lightning bolts, nor as a white privileged son with a silver spoon dangling from his mouth.  God chose the littlest, most common, poorest, humble stable to embark from an animal feeding trough.

From this no-place on a gigantic planet, where oceans had not yet been navigated and the earth was still believed to be flat and communication was still done mouth directly to ear, a firstborn son was born who would change the world.  He changed the world to such a degree that everything we know today would have happened differently.  Without God in a manger it's not hard to trace how nothing at all would be what it is.  Few of us would know we never happened.  

But, even this realization would not mean a thing if millions upon millions of individuals through time - individuals no different than you and me - had not captured this extraordinary moment in their hearts and allowed their lives to be different because of this one birth.  Our lives can be different, better, creating a world with a different ending based on redeeming love and heartfelt peace to all based on us embracing this One who came to us in a manger.

It's a scary world and growing more so daily.  Violence as a solution to all problems, hatred, idolatry of country/race/ethnicity, and humans who place their egos above God dominate the news and the political structures.  We aren't going to realize or be able to embrace God-with-us by following the establishing trends or hiding ourselves in bunkers with weapons drawn.  We also aren't going to know the power love has sitting through a couple hours of sweetly singing children in candlelight at beautified Christmas Eve services.  The manger will win as we each do the hard work of talking to, listening to, and showing compassion and grace and manners to everyone who shares this planet with us. We all have to learn we can turn to each other and know we can rely on each other to hold a real Christ candle burning in our hearts day by day by day. 

Let 2017 be your year to enter the stable and witness the Big Bang that truly changes the world.

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