Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The gift of the mysterious

The days are getting shorter . . . the nights are getting colder . . . and, with the increase in darkness there's a corresponding increase in an underlying sense of anticipation.

Ever since the late Stone Age this has been a significant point of the year . . . a time of mystery, a time of wonder, a time of revelation.

It's little wonder that early Christian leaders interwove myth and prophecy to create a Christmas story in Midwinter.  But they also gave us the shadowy pathway that leads to Christmas . . . the mysterious weeks of Advent.

We live in a world that enjoys a mystery, it sees it as a challenge . . . something to be solved.  It's a world in which it's felt that all questions should be answerable, all conundrums understood.

But, by and large, we're not so fond of the mysterious.  We turn away from the strange and the unusual, all that defies an easy explanation.  We like certainties.

Nonetheless, if we think about it for a moment, even the word 'understand' implies a position of deference in relation to knowledge.  And isn't it true that, in our hearts, we all need the mysterious?

What is it that holds a blade of grass erect?
What resonates so clearly in the song of a bird?
What departs from the body at death?

The answer to each of those questions is 'life'.   We all know that.
But can you, or I, or anyone else explain what 'life' really is?
We know when it's gone . . . that's all.
But, as it says in the Talmud, 'Why ruin a perfectly good question with an answer?'

Christmas is approaching, the New Year will follow . . . and something new will be emerging from the darkness.  It's a time of birth, and all births are mysterious.

There could hardly be a time of greater uncertainty than we have at the moment . . . environmental uncertainty, international uncertainty, future uncertainty.   But mystery lies at the heart of uncertainty and mystery creates wonder.

As we wait in the shadows, mightn't it be wise to acknowledge the enriching power of the mysterious?

It's a quality that words can't fully convey.  Instead, I've something profoundly mysterious to offer you.

Click here for a moving prelude to whatever lies ahead.
And remember, no questions . . . just wonder . . .  and gratitude.