On Wonder

My Dad was a preacher for nearly thirty years and visits home have always been punctuated by long theological discussions between he and I on every subject under the sun—discussions which have become all the more frequent since I became the family heathen. Last night he asked me which character in the nativity story I related to most. While I considered it, he offered that he identified most with the shepherds, as someone who was going about his way when truth found him and shook the corners of his world. 

That isn't something I can quite relate to. I've always been a seeker, someone unsatisfied with whatever the given answers were; I've always wanted, expected, and hoped that there was something more, something we were missing, just beyond what we could comprehend or accept. I'd always hoped the world could be big enough to get lost in, with questions that were too vast to answer in a hundred lifetimes.

I thought a moment and responded seriously that I related to the three wise men from the East. After he was done laughing at my smart-ass response, I explained that I felt that way because the Magi seemed the only characters in the story who were already searching the stars for signs and God, in anticipation of something incredible. They were outsiders in the story and also the only characters who were unsurprised that a God-force might choose to do something wondrous among a people outside of their own country, tribe, and religion. They seemed to believe in an expansive God, and that belief had brought them together, past the borders of Persia, Babylon, and India, on a quest through the unimpressive, sheep-scattered countryside of a subjugated people. 

The story goes, that at their journey's end, they found the one foretold by the night skies, and glimpsed the wonder of divinity in the face of the Christ child. I wonder when they knelt before him if they knew why the stars had sent him to us—somehow, I doubt it. I think that they, like me, believed that some things were too great to be understood, even thousands of years later. Perhaps one can only ever leave true divine encounters with a greater sense of wonder, and more questions, than when the journey began...  

Maybe that is enough.

Fellow wanderers, fellow wonderers—Merry Christmas.

 

There was a star...
I couldn't explain
How it pulled me then
Or what it pulled me to,
I only knew
I had to know
Where it would lead.
In the end
There was a child
Light embodied
Come to awaken the world.
In the end
He was the beginning.
And I could never
Comprehend
What I had seen,
Only continue to wander
on my way
with awestruck eyes turned
to the heavens
Searching
for God.
 
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