My Christmas is so much like my life–contemplative
and a bit messy around the edges. I read about adventures
and new recipes, then I pull out my 40-year-old sauce pan
and make the same fudge from memory. Ancient on repeat
seems to be the default bell, jingling from the wings of an old
angel atop the tree. My favorite aunt mailed me fudge once
and I was so touched and homesick and filled with good. She knew
she was dying, and although she had not spoken the word to me, I knew it, too. I can’t really recreate the beauty that has passed before me
but I can remember and I can go through the motions, stirring and stirring until something in my heart begins to taste. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about–the feeble attempt to share the unbeknownst? Bonhoeffer tells me faith requires a first step of obedience and in the same breath obedience requires faith. There is no first ingredient to the formula. Salvation is like a train that a man running hard away from himself can jump on at any time and at any place, and the miracle is, he will squarely find himself again. He might run or he might stay. He might place his head down on the tracks, then pull away at the last possible moment. He might stand in a long, civilized line and purchase a roundtrip ticket in first class with a sleeping car and chicken with wine. What is faith, really, but the idea of no idea?
A baby? A manger? An unusual star? Do I dare believe this? Open the box. Taste. See.