With my shallow background in journalism, I’ve learned that sometimes there just isn’t any news that’s fit to print. You print your journal anyway when there are advertisers and subscribers and contracts to be honored, but it’s a little less than honest.
So I confess. I have no amazing insights about Christmas. I haven’t solved the conundrum of the meaning of “virgin birth.” I haven’t uncovered a little-known, never recognized Messianic prophecy buried deep in the Psalms or Esther or heaven-forbid-the-Song-of-Solomon. I have no political or religious position on the President’s use of “Happy Holidays” in his greeting card this year. I have no answers for what to tell small children when they ask if Santa’s real.
My mom is here. She’s 80. She drove all the way from Bloomington, Indiana to us in Little Rock, Arkansas today. Five hundred and fifty miles. At speeds approaching her age. Given her declining reflexes, that’s something of a miracle. And I am a little bit in awe.
My son turns 13 tomorrow. He originally invited all of the boys in his seventh-grade class to an all-night camp-in birthday party at our church’s Family Life Center that would have been last night, and the few of them that responded said they had an early basketball game this morning and couldn’t come to an all-night party. So we changed the span from 6:00 to 10:00 last night. Sixteen boys showed up – one bringing a friend who was not a classmate. They played dodge ball, basketball, flashlight tag, capture the flag, billiards, and video games. They ate six pizzas, yet only half a birthday cake. They were well-behaved and it only took about 10 minutes to clean and close the facility after them. It was a minor miracle. And I am more than a little bit in awe.
In a quiet moment, after reading many blogs tonight and reflecting on the weekend and anticipating the Advent, it has just struck me again for the silent-thundering thousandth time that the actual Son of God left heaven to become a baby in a nothing family in a nowhere country to live a no-reward life to serve and save a no-account world of people. It is a miracle beyond grasp – not that He was born of a virgin (God created heavens and the earth and someone has a problem with the idea that He could create and place a single spermatozoan at the heart of a human egg?) – but that He came at all.
It’s not an original thought. Thousands of writers over two thousand years have phrased it more beautifully, more succinctly, more reverently, more powerfully, more inspiringly than I can. It’s become too mundane to be amazing any more.
And perhaps that is as astonishing as the fact itself that He came.