Advent Reflections 2018 : Day 20 : the future?

Vintage images of space and what people thought the future might look like seem a little cliche to us now. I wonder if the same is true for the Christmas cards we receive with images of the stable, the shepherds, the magi or western caricatures of angels?

If we take a moment to place ourselves within the nativity story, these characters were given a window into the future, they were seeing an ancient prophecy coming true, they didn’t know how it was going to play out in the same way we do. We know that this part of the story leads us to Easter – does having the big picture mar our ability to dream big, to imagine a better future, to engage in the cosmic scale of what was happening?

Perhaps that is why I like science fiction – it encourages the imagination, it forces us to challenge our sense of belief, to put aside what we know is physical reality and participate in the mysterious. And that’s what I think advent is, a time to put aside the realities of our world, not ignoring the issues but taking time out to reflect. How will the next few days look if we participate in the mysterious? If we let the divine become part of our story? If we are guided by the stars and meet Christ…

in 1093 St. Maximus Confessor wrote;

In his Oration on the Nativity, where he discusses the mystery by which human beings came to be, Gregory makes clear the significance of what he said. “Intellect and the senses, once distinguished from one another, remained within their own limits, and bore the magnificence of the Creator-Word in themselves… Though they praised God’s mighty words silently, they were piercing heralds. But the two had not yet mingled, because the mind and the senses had not been joined together. Hence the Creator-Word wishing to display this mingling and to produce a single living being with both intellect and sensation, invisible and visible, made man.”

My challenge to you (and myself) for the next week is to engage with the Christmas celebrations in both an intellectual and sensational way, because that after all, is how God made us to be…

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