December 24, 2002

That Holy Thing

This little meditation was written last year during the week of Halloween. It was to become part of a small booklet of Christmas reflections by members of the congregation of the Lutheran church we attended then. It seems appropriate to share it now with you.

Luke Chapter One 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever ; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
I contemplate this passage on the eve of that holiday on which we don masks and disguises and enjoy the thrill of a good scare. It is in our nature to be thrilled by strangeness, the unexpected, the inexplicable, those things that are beyond our ordinary senses. We want so to believe that there is "a presence here", a Something not of this world, an extra-ordinary reality beyond this valley of travail. We pay good money to be scared as we are entertained, to experience the surreal, to get a "rush" from our fictional brushes with Otherness. Fact, dear friend, is stranger than fiction, and the narrative of the Christmas event has quite enough wonderful Otherness to it. But you must read beyond its familiar and cliched details that we recite superficially and from habit during the season of Advent...the Coming to Earth.

Perhaps no passage in all of the Christmas account succeeds better at raising goose flesh on my arms than this passage in Luke. I especially appreciate the King James language in verse 35. The "power of the Highest shall overshadow thee" and "that Holy Thing" born to Mary will be the very Son of God. This language reminds me of nothing so much as the forecast of an alien invasion. In my mind, I envision the advent of The Force, the Holy Ghost, casting a moving shadow over the rocky mountains and valleys of Israel as it comes down below the clouds, approaching its intended rendezvous at a preordained point in time and space, with a certain Mary. She will be benignly and supernaturally impregnated with a Something that even the angel, it seems, could not fully comprehend or conjure more precise terminology for, calling it THAT HOLY THING.

Worlds collide, nature is invaded by SuperNature, and two separate realities become one in this human-alien spirit-into-matter conception. The kingdom of this world...the very real flesh and blood world of observable "history" including real people... David, Jacob, Abraham ...with the coming of this Holy Thing... has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His baby, Christ. Of course, this is what the Father of this world of Otherness has intended to take place, even before His creation of the universe. And precisely at this invasion moment of our story, told in Luke, the PLAN is made fully known. We, in a sense, are the aliens living in His world. He is the One, in the form of a powerless infant, who will enable us to conform to our intended beings in his world. This odd Force that he brings with Him, that IS Him, will enable all the world of humanity to become true citizens of an invisible-but-real world of spirit that will outlast this world of matter.

I am not very excited about the coming of ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties tomorrow night. But I am wonderfully, awe-fully thrilled by the reality of this Christmas Ghost Story, especially knowing that this same spirit, this Thing has inhabited me, it dwells in my family, and in the holy universal church. History is His Story. And of His Kingdom, there shall be no end. Come, Lord Jesus.

Now, that gives me goose bumps.

Prayer: Lord, we marvel at the mysterious way you came to live among us and through us, to become one of us. Give us new eyes to see That Holy Thing upon the Earth this blessed and awesome season of your coming, to experience afresh the holy fear of your Otherness, and the Wonders of your love.

Posted by fred1st at December 24, 2002 06:10 AM | TrackBack

Merry Christmas, Fred and Ann!

Posted by: Da Goddess at December 24, 2002 08:53 PM

God bless ye, merry gentleman! Welcome to your new home - and just in time for Christmas. How wonderful. Hope you and Buster have a great Christmas day tomorrow, even though Ann'll be working, hope she has a great one too, with a nice, warm meal and lotsa wood in the stove to come home to. Peace

Posted by: connie at December 24, 2002 08:55 PM

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