Jesus in the manger

Yes I know it’s February.  This is not really about Jesus, fact or fiction.  There’s abundant scholarship on that question.  I’m interested in metaphor.

Here we go: when I am in the presence of nature, beauty or moments that feel miraculous in some way, I immediately think, how do I keep this going?  As you know, that question is kill-joy.

But I am most wily!  I think, how can I improve myself to stop thinking these kill-joy thoughts?  Should I meditate more, think “good” thoughts, and probably behave in some kindly, saintly way?  If only I could get clear on what that way is and how it makes room for raucous sex and good dark chocolate.

Then I remember:  the manger.  Stay with me.  In the 1st century,  “god” (whatever that means, to me that word is just a convenient handle for an unnamable experience)  was POWERFUL and SCARY.  You had to do lots of stuff to avoid being smited.  But then came a new story: “god” got born in a stinky manger, the helpless baby of a working class couple.  Revolutionary.

Why do I love this metaphor?  It reminds me: so what if I’m a stinky manger, not as shiny-nice as the fancy rooms at the inn.  “God“ gets born in that manger.  I need not change a thing – attempts at self-improvement actually get in the way.  While I’m sweeping up, I might miss the birth.  

In fact, if I think I can do something to cause a moment of grace, then I’m really screwed.  Only the deepest moving into myself will make me relaxed enough to be there when grace enters.  Raucous sex, dark chocolate and ”not-good” thoughts… welcome!

Posted February 9th, 2011 in Uncategorized.

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