|Fun house mirrors are amusing for a short time. Like caricatures they emphasize some features while diminishing others – or making them completely disappear. But the reason they’re enjoyable is because you know what the true image looks like, and you’re only seeing the distortion for a short time for amusement. And everyone looking at the distortion knows it’s a distortion. That’s why you stand before the distorting mirrors in the first place – to be amused by how the mirror will distort your features.
But how would you feel if all that people knew about you was the distorted image? What if they never saw the real you, the undistorted you? What if all your life you had to deal with people thinking that you were in fact the distortion they saw?
A Christmas Day Meditation
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
I often get the impression that many unbelievers think that if they themselves personally had a sign from God they would believe. Which leads them to wonder why God doesn’t give more signs.
This whole line of questioning of God’s use of signs makes me wonder – if you think God needs to provide you with a sign, if he did, would you believe him? As I’ve demonstrated previously, unless you’re already inclined to believe, the likely answer is no. Signs are a type of evidence. And unless you’re willing to believe what the evidence is pointing to, no amount of evidence will persuade you. Even so it appears to me God has left evidence more powerful than a sign. But before we can understand it, let’s look first at how God uses signs: Continue Reading
A Christmas Day Meditation
The word “story” is a rather ambiguous word. It’s ambiguous in that the word itself does not tell you whether the story is true or not. Thus we’ve come up with phrases to help us with that. When the story is true, we use phrases like ” the true story of…” or ” (story name), a true story”, or “the real story of” – to differentiate true stories from stories full of common misconceptions.
We also have ways identifying stories that are not true. When we tell “fairy stories” we’re telling a story we’re acknowledging to be a fanciful, made up fictional string of events. Or we may end an explanation with “… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” Most people understand this as a tacit admission that parts or all of the story might not true, but the teller of the story is unwilling to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” as you would in a court of law. Continue Reading
A total eclipse of the sun: modern day scientists have called it “an amazing, awe inspiring, tremendously moving event”1 and ” a spectacle that few people who see one will ever forget.” Total eclipses of the sun have been tracked for over two millennia, as witnessed by the fact that the Babylonians figured out the Saros cycle – the cycle for when solar eclipses will repeat – 22 centuries ago. Recently it was discovered that the Saros cycle was built into the ancient Greek Antikythera mechanical computing mechanism dating to the second or third century BC – meaning the Greeks too were tracking the total eclipses.
Why this fascination with the total eclipse of the sun? While there are various theories why the ancients tracked them, modern day scientists use eclipses to discover things they couldn’t otherwise see due to the brightness of the sun. For example:
– A total eclipse of the sun was used to verify the notion of the curvature of space as predicted by Einstein’s theory of General
– The Corona around the sun – The solar disk is a million times brighter than the Corona3, so unless the sun is covered – as it is in an eclipse – you’ll never the corona.
The eclipse of the sun makes it possible to see the otherwise invisible corona (depicted above). This is similar to what God did for us that first Christmas. Scripture tells us God is invisible, and even if he weren’t, we still couldn’t see him because he lives in “unapproachable” light:
15 which God will bring about in his own time–God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,
16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
1 Tim 6.15-16
17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be
honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Tim 1.17
How do you see one who is invisible; who lives in unapproachable light?
The lyrics of the Christmas hymn
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing gives us the answer:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate deity
Pleased as man with men to dwell
Jesus our Immanuel4
God, the invisible one was made visible by being “veiled in flesh” as the hymn puts it, nicely capturing the idea that in the incarnation, Jesus’ human flesh acted as the moon does during an eclipse, allowing us to see that which is normally invisible. The incarnation gives new meaning to the early confession “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh” (1 Jn 4.2) when we realize people who saw Jesus in the flesh were blessed to see the invisible God who lives in unapproachable light.
In “being made in human likeness.” (Php 2.7) God gives us the opportunity to know him and see what he is like. That we can see God through Jesus is why scripture tells us that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1.15), and that for those who saw Jesus, they got a glimpse of what the God the father is like, for as Jesus himself said, those who saw him, saw the father. (John 14.9)
So when you consider the baby in the manager this year, consider how great a gift God gave to the world. Not just the gift of his son – but the gift of a revelation of himself made possible by willfully eclipsing his own glory in order to allow us to see – as we do the sun’s corona when it’s in eclipse – the wonder and the beauty that is our creator, all wrapped up in the baby in the manger.
Duane Caldwell | posted 12/25/2014 | printer friendly version
2. Einstein’s theory of General Relativity says space is curved. If, so light should follow the curvature of space – particularly around massive bodies like the sun. This prediction was tested and verified during a total eclipse of the sun in May 1919 by British astronomer Arthur Eddington.
4 From the second stanza – Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Note: Immanuel is Hebrew for “God with us”