Monday, December 07, 2009

Advent -- A Time to Look Closely -- Black

As I’ve done scores of times over the years, I sat at the computer, knuckles resting on the edge of the keyboard. Lord, what do I write about today? I mused, then ran a few news matters of the week through my memory banks.

There was, for example, the hoopla over Tiger Woods’ apparent indiscretions, and our PM’s trip to China, and his being chastised by the Chinese leader for, among other things, his delay in making his first trip to the People’s Republic, and his criticisms of their human rights record. Next, I recalled the debate over the Swiss democratic vote to disallow its Muslim community from building minarets on their mosques, and the possible implications of the vote – was it right and fair? Is it a phobic response? And so on. Next, my thoughts drifted to matters closer to home – of families dealing with enormous grief and facing the loss of loved ones, at what is often considered the most difficult time of year. But then, I recalled a brief article I wrote for my church bulletin several Sundays ago, and decided I would build on its simple message with you.

How can we account for some of the things that grab and hold our attention? Take the common experience of the kid who quickly gives up playing with his new expensive toy, only to spend hours playing with, or in, the box in which it came. Or the woman who scours house and home all day in search of a lost, inexpensive trinket, even though she still possesses other very valuable jewellery.

Let the psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists implement studies, peruse data, and label their conclusions, as to what engages one person’s interest in some pursuit, or another’s interest in something entirely different. However, the sense of mystery about what interests people attracts me. For instance, why does one kid, coming out of the same stable family pod as another, have entirely different interests than his siblings?

My sons reflect this contrast. Chris, quite mechanically oriented, manages a parts department, and loves basketball. Jay jogs, and plays volleyball. He’s the one we might have least expected to become a Christian minister, yet is now in his eighteenth year of being one. Jerome, a schoolteacher, composes, writes plays, sings, and acts. Yep, the mystery as to what makes people tick, provides in part, the allure for studying human nature.

Consider: Reporter Jim usually reports the merely observable facts of an incident or story, whereas reporter Jane rises to a higher level of the craft. How? By engaging in investigative journalism. She looks more closely, inquires more deeply, and pursues more tenaciously, the people involved in an incident. Jane is interested in people, and wants to find out what happened to them, why it happened, and how it affected them. She writes the "story behind the story."

St. Luke, in writing his accounts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Acts, was that kind of a reporter. Although not one of the Twelve Apostles, through his thorough research and sensitive reporting, God has given us a wonderful view of our Lord Jesus, and a unique reflection of Mary and other personalities surrounding our Saviour’s birth.

You have a Bible or New Testament? Why not take the time to read deeply the Christmas event (Luke chapters 1 and 2; Matthew chapters 1 and 2)?

Yes, Advent is a time to look closely.

(© Peter A. Black. An edition of this article will be published in The Watford Guide-Advocate, Dec. 10/09.);


Glynis said...

I suppose God chose not to use a cookie cutter to create us and, thus, we are unique beings for a purpose. Advent is a good time to pause and reflect, Peter, isn't it? Thanks for the nudge and for bringing such thoughtful words to this world. Blessings.

Eleanor Shepherd said...

This is a great thought Peter. To think more deeply about the events of Christmas I am sure would make a difference in all of our lives this year. I am sure I will look at the story with new eyes after reading your blog.

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