Sunday, December 04, 2005
Creation's True Voice
It is no surprize that Christians of days gone by filled pagan symbols symbols with new meaning. We have always been about smashing idols. We have always been about giving created things their true voices. It is equally unsurprising that a generation that has spent its youth smashing symbols would misunderstand their meaning.
Remember the ten Plagues of Egypt? The Egyptians taught that the Nile, the sun, the frog, the earth/dust were gods. God's curse on them taught that they were created things, which would accomplish their Creator's will. The Egyptians used stinging flies as symbols of their infantry. God sent these creatures against the Egyptians, symbolizing the supremacy of God's armies over those of Egypt. Pharaoh was revered as a deity with power over life and death. God's final plague, the death of the firstborn, showed Pharaoh to be a human being subject himself to death.
"The earth is the Lord's." He defines its meaning to us. The same cloud that lead Israel from Egypt with glorious light by night and hovering shade by day, was darkness and confusion to God's enemies (Ex. 14:19, 20). The Egyptian cult ornaments that the Israelites took away as plunder when they left, became the gold and silver furnishings of the Tabernacle. (Some of them also became the golden calf, which Moses had ground to dust and then made Israel drink. This, too, gave the gold its true voice: blessings abused become curses.)
In this this vein, the apostle John used the buzzword of Greek philosophy, "logos", to express the extreme communication from God that is Jesus (Jn. 1:1-18). The living Word. Philosophy in flesh. Jesus is not a prophet; He is the prophecy. John gave this word its true voice, and the Greeks were able to hear.
Can we do less when it comes to our observance of Christmas? In the last Advent posting, we explored the meaning of Christmas' timing. Time itself speaks God's meanings (Gen. 1:14-19). Why not trees and candles and gifts and roaring fires?