Christmas 2 -002
As Jesus often used parables and natural images to help us understand and experience the mysteries of God's love, so I found myself trying to envision our sharing in the divine life which Jesus said was necessary for knowing and experiencing the Kingdom of God. The first image came to me when on the final Sunday of Advent I noticed an altar server lighting the four candles on the Advent wreath with a single match. The match was sharing its fire, which for the fire we might say was its life. The candles, though designed and made to be lit could not light themselves. I think this is similar to how it is with the gift of divine life Jesus came to bring. All people were designed and created for God's love. But we cannot create it. It must be received in faith and freedom.
A second image that came to mind made use of a magnet. I was reflecting upon the promise of Jesus that if He be "lifted up" on the Cross He would draw all to Himself. (Jn 12: 32; Jn 3: 14). Jesus is not speaking merely about the physical reality of the crucifixion but rather its spiritual dimension, the total obedient love it entailed. The word 'draw' captured my attention. I went to my tool box and got a drill bit. I brought it close to a strong magnet that I keep on hand.
With the drill bit drawn to the magnet by a real but invisible force I had a good image of what Jesus said about His death. Next I substituted a kitchen knife for the drill bit and noticed how much harder it was to pull the knife away from the magnet than the drill bit. Then I used a tea spoon and that also had a strong pull. Finally I used a plastic spoon the same size and shape as the other. The magnet had no effect upon it.
In all of these experiments the magnetic force was the same. The difference came from the various objects I was using. I could see in this a parallel with our reception of Sanctifying Grace. The life God shares is infinite, without limit, but since it is a personal gift it is unique in each person who receives it. The plastic spoon did not qualify to be magnetized. It was the right size shape and color but something within it disqualified it from being drawn to the magnet.
I was reminded of how similar this was to how we are drawn to God's love. We may be physically strong wealthy intelligent and gifted in many ways with qualities that make for a successful human life here on earth, but if we do not believe or if we choose to sin we cannot personally experience the Kingdom of God any more than the plastic spoon experiences the drawing force of the magnet.
Christmas is about the magnetism of the love God brought to earth in Jesus to be shared with all people. May we ever strive to be worthy of such a gift. A little prayer I use to express my daily appreciation in response to God's presence and love says:"Live, my Triune God, so live in me that all I do be done by Thee, that all I think and all I say be Thy thoughts and words today. Amen.
Happy Christmas all year long!