“I don’t do goals,” I say when it’s my turn to introduce myself. A thin blanket beneath me, my legs folded, I am sitting in a circle of women at my local yoga studio. We are at a workshop “setting intentions for the New Year” with “a feminine approach to goal setting.” I am skeptical. I am more of a “let the destination find you” kind of person. I am better at beginnings.
It is at this point that Jesus reminds us that God completely throws off our human calculations of what will be constant and what will change, for “what is impossible for mere humans is possible for God” he insists.
For those who date the birth of Jesus from zero, this Christmas season was his 2,000th birthday. Aware of that, my son Joel asked, “Dad, you read all the periodicals and notices? Were you impressed by how little anyone made of that?” I rechecked the periodicals and notices and was indeed impressed.
At this time of the Christian year, worship services feature narratives that stretch credulity to the limit. Whether the stories star hayseed shepherds confronted by hosts of glittering angels or desert pilgrims watching something like a dove descend upon a man in a river as a voice from heaven calls him “son,” this is the season of beholding things beyond belief.
Here is some Christmas– New Year nostalgia with, I hope, a point. Scene One: A Christmas Eve in 1934 or 1935, a drought, dust-bowl, Depression year in Nebraska. Lutheran parochial schoolchildren are presenting the Christmas Eve service to a jammed congregation.
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