John 1:1-5. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
What would Star Wars be without lightsabers? Whether you’re a fanatic and have already seen the last (is there ever really a “last?”) movie of the latest trilogy, or are one of the few who thinks a Jedi is a brand of cleaner, you probably know that a lightsaber is a kind of sword of light used by both the heroes and villains. Of course, they’re fun to watch. They also help us experience the battle between good and evil and the emotional upheaval the characters are experiencing. Real physicists have questioned the validity and possibility of lightsabers—how they work, what they’re powered by, and whether they are made of beams or plasma. How could light work in such a way? To appreciate the movie (and not waste the fifteen dollars you spent to see it), there comes a point you need to push past the parts you don’t fully understand or comprehend. Even fiction like Star Wars can open us up to new concepts.
The unbelievable is an open door for exploration.
There comes a point in the journey of the Christian faith that we are faced with the unbelievable. It doesn’t involve a fictional galaxy far, far away but rather the one we live in. John 1:1-5 lights up the unbelievable notion that God became human, and even more than that, it says that Jesus existed before anything existed, including time. How does that work? This short excerpt speaks of many of the paradoxes of Christianity—how disunity exists in the midst of unity, how the infinite can be contained by the finite, how the same God-beyond is the same God-within. John’s version of the Christmas story seeks to relate the inconceivable idea of how the King of Kings can be lying in a manger.
There is no denying that Jesus’ coming to earth is pretty unbelievable. If we have no problem accepting the idea of an unlimited, all-powerful God becoming human, we should probably shake ourselves or ask what drugs we’ve been taking. There is no easy way to faith, no magic pill that makes the questions go away and our brains simply accept the things we’ve had difficult wrapping our minds around. But that doesn’t mean we throw out the holy baby with the bathwater. Christmas celebrates our so-very-human nature to grapple with the unbelievable—then, now, and how Christ will come again. So go explore. Wrestle. Read.
And, of course, listen.
Are you listening?