Christmas and the Crack in the Cosmos


When Adam and Eve threw God-given sense to the winds and dug their teeth into a death-lnfused piece of fruit, they didn’t drop dead. They. Didn’t. Drop. Dead.

What they didn’t know, what they couldn’t see, was the enormous, universe-long crack in the cosmos between creature and Creator.

As long as one doesn’t drop dead, one can adjust to almost anything. Adam and Eve dug weeds and watched the sky for rain, hoping it would start or stop. They hugged and kissed and etceterad, and had babies. Life, even painful, drudging life, was the new normal.

When one of their beloved babies grew up to kill the other of their beloved babies, they might have felt they were falling into the crack, or at least that their hearts were splitting. Somehow though, they didn’t drop dead. Life continued, more babies came. They were too busy to notice the small crack splintering off the giant, uncrossable crevice between God and humanity.

Since that initial brutality we’ve continued to whack away at the crack.

The first time a man slept with someone other than his wife another fissure appeared. But the cheating husband didn’t drop dead. Neither did the mistress, so couples and families continued to split and divide and society tries to sidestep the consequences.

We are fast learners. We only needed to see once that lightning didn’t strike the first woman who chose to abort her baby for the sake of convenience, the first father who chose to use his child as a punching bag, the first youth who chose to mock the ‘otherness’ of another. Instead of running from the chinks opening up at their feet, we snatched at their sins and expanded them.

Eons of jolting drunkenly from crater to rupture to fracture have convinced us that we are actually walking an even keel. If everyone else is lurching along at the same list, who notices one’s own totters and teeters? Especially if, after swearing or slapping or stealing or selfishness or lusting, nothing seems to change. We haven’t dropped dead.

Meanwhile, the cracks widen. Under our feet, every so often we hear an ominous crunch, a warning rumble. Wars and rumors of wars, genocide and infanticide and suicide bombers and school shooters and mall shooters and kidnappers and garbage islands floating in the ocean and families who tear themselves into pieces and pastors who peruse porn sites.

It’s too late. It’s been too late ever since a lousy piece of fruit and self-aggrandizement trumped walking and talking with the Lord and Master of the Universe. The crack that divided us and Him has been widening and we are just one  chink away from crumbling into nothingness.

The mess is our fault, folks, and there is no way to undo it. What a hopeless, clueless crashing bunch we are, bumping along on the brink of disaster, and no law or power or boots on the ground or presidential candidate will be able to hold us together.

A disintegrating world and cracked cosmos. Why doesn’t God just discard it all? Certainly that can’t be worse than watching us destroy ourselves. For some reason our fickle, damaged hearts can’t understand, He chose to insert His beloved Son into the splinters, via the fragility of a womb into the roughness of a manger.

‘In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.’*

When the fullness of God lives with the self-destructive rebellious people of earth, the shifting chunks of brokenness respond in amazing ways. Water becomes a walkway. ‘Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;’**

Instead of sending us headlong into the chasms yawning at our feet, He uses them to loose the mountains who skip like lambs before Him and burst into song. The trees and rivers are freed to clap their hands. A star, released from position, guides the powerful and the meek to a feedbin filled with a baby.

Only a few decades after that, our own particular star stopped shining. A tree was torn from the unstable ground and its clapping silenced when the Creator was nailed to it. The earth trembled and split when He died. At the darkest time, when the mountains should have fallen on us and the earth ruptured into a million pieces, the healing began.

When God the sin-hating Father joined hands with God the flesh-clad Son, the breach in the cosmos narrowed and compressed and fused together. Reconciliation, glorious and grace-filled is ours in spite of ourselves.

The universe is still crumbling and humans still sift through each clump of solid ground searching for more goodness to pulverize. What we don’t know is that the ultimate power to destroy our world lies with the One who made it, and He is the One who will make it over. When He does, He guarantees it will be crack-proof.

Merry Christmas, indeed.

*Colossians 1:19 & 20
**Luke 3:5

The stumble after the fall


Decades of experience have proven that a blessing can, conversely, work as a curse.

Take the old Irish benediction ‘May the road rise up to meet you.’
Think about it. One is walking, in a carefree, guileless manner along a road/path/sidewalk/carpeted hallway, and it rears up to meet one in the form of a bump/stone/protuberance/wrinkle.
What happens then? Anything from a face plant to a gyrating series of stumbles, bobs, weaves and windmilling arms. It’s never pretty. If you ever see me do any of the above—please be kind and pretend you didn’t. Don’t offer me a hand up or ask if I am all right.

Because pride hurts worse than the fall.

What is worse than the physical pain of bruised shins, bloodied knees or chipped teeth?
Metaphorical falls.
They occur, with irritating regularity, on the twisting, booby-trapped, buckling road of daily life. We are tripped up by bumps of:
-forgetting stuff
-mispronouncing stuff
-acting out of ignorance
-making faulty judgements based on incomplete facts
-speaking loudly and publicly and foolishly using those faulty judgments
-social blunders
-at a baby shower, during a game,  announcing ‘Myrtle’ as a name to  never name a baby, forgetting the hostess’s name is Myrtle.*

Unless you are a hermit, perfect, or have the gift of flight, you can no doubt remember one or two figurative stumbles of your own.
When we fall—spraining hubris, skinning egos, and banging up pride, we hope no one noticed.

Just in case though, we take ridiculous measures to maintain some semblance of dignity. Instead of rising to our feet, smiling ruefully and taking note of what precipitated the fall so we don’t repeat it, we might:
-make excuses for our forgetfulness so we don’t appear at fault
-stubbornly cover slips of tongue or mangling of words so we don’t appear less than clever
-huffily defend ignorant behavior so we don’t have to appear humble
-bluster through wrong assumptions so we don’t appear ignorant
-blather on with foolish pronouncements so we don’t appear…foolish
-grumble past our social blunders as if society where at fault instead of ourselves
-refuse to apologize profusely for an unintentional personal insult because we might appear vulnerable—i.e.—mortal

A fall is embarrassing and it can hurt. But it happens, and it isn’t irremediable.
Unless we pretend we meant to fall.
Unless we sacrifice others to save face.
Unless we blame the road instead of our own inattention.
Unless we never look at what caused the fall to avoid it in the future.

The stumble after the fall is worse than the accident itself.
It compounds the topple, hurts the onlookers, and ensures we’ll continue, in spite of bobbing and weaving and windmilling, to fall flat on our faces.

Let’s stop deluding ourselves. Clumsy, prideful, defensive methods to make certain no one noticed serve to only prolong the stumble.
Let’s turn that curse back to a blessing.
When the road rises to meet us, grin, and thank it for pointing out that the clumsiest of humans can rise after the fall, a better person.

*An all-too humbling real-life experience that occurred in the distant past of the Tuesday Prude.