I Believe…

Luke 1:39-45 – The 4th Sunday of Advent – for December 23, 2012

“And blessed is she who believed…” (Luke 1:45)

I am “skirting” Bethlehem this year. Click here for why.

Used cleverly, words disguise our inner self. Used honestly, words reveal our inner self.

What do you believe?

What do you think?

What do you know?

Which of the above questions—and its answer—would influence you the most when seeking a deeper relationship with another?

Since you’re a clever human bean, you might hedge your response by claiming it depends on the subject of the question and the asker of the query. True enough, but in general are you more interested in what another believes or thinks or knows about . . .

 Abortion. Abstinence. Allah. Birth control. Boxers or briefs. Cats or dogs. Christmas. Death penalty. Disarming a bomb. Gay rights. Global warming. God. Good guys finishing last. Heaven. Hell. Jesus. Love at first sight. Mindfulness. Opposites attract. Premarital sex. Reincarnation. Resurrection. Santa Claus. Sexual orientation. Shaken or stirred. Virgin birth. YHWH*

Of course, specifically . . . if two good guys (and let’s say I’m one of those good guys) were trapped in a room with a ticking bomb during Christmas, I’d prefer to know the other person can disarm bombs and really don’t care what he or she thinks about boxers vs. briefs or believes about abstinence.

What we believe/think/know about something, or what another person believes/thinks/knows about something, is always situational. Which is to say, are you planning to marry the other person or are you sharing an elevator ride to the tenth floor?

And yet I’m mostly a firm believer in belief.

During Advent and Christmas, I suspect many suspend knowing or thinking to enthusiastically (or reluctantly) embrace belief. What do we know about Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem? What do you think about those three wise men? Oops, sorry, we have no idea if there were three or thirty magi, though we know three gifts were mentioned in one insignificant (or magnificent) passage in a single Gospel. What do you KNOW about Jesus’ birth? I mean the real birth. The date. The place. The witnesses. What do you THINK about Jesus’ birth? Was Mary a virgin, did angels sing and how much fretting and scheming did Herod do? How much of a chasm exists between what you know/think and your BELIEFS? Is the difference a gap as modest as a manger or bigger than a barn?

What do I believe about Christmas? (And you can ask yourself the same question . . . what are your deepest, most real and revealing beliefs about this holy, peculiar season?)

Do you want to know what I believe? Continue reading →