Merry Christmas, hope you are disturbed.
Well, I give you the picture on the left here, or rather, an icon. If you go into any Orthodox (Greek, Russian, Serbian, Etc), you’ll see them plastered all over the church walls. Everyone of them stare down at you like an audience or, dare I say, a great cloud of witnesses.
At the CCO (my campus ministry organization), we have our quarterly training sessions at an Antiochian Orthodox retreat center. The heart of the main building has a beautiful chapel where many of us hold an Anglican prayer service. Some people can’t handle all of the Icons. As one of my coworkers pointed out, “it’s a bit disturbing”.
That’s the point. It’s supposed to be. Orthodox Icons aren’t meant to be mistaken for the real thing. That would be idolatry. Rather, they are meant to be pictures reminding us of an unseen reality. It’s meant to unsettle us, disturb us and then, to bring about worship of the God who is near.
That’s really what Jesus’ birth is all about. It’s supposed to disturb us and cause us to question our view of the reality. God being born as a baby. God taking on our flesh and “our image” when we were made in His. And as a friend pointed out, God being born so that He could die for us.
Christmas always bring me an uneasy peace, a peace that disturbs me. It should. I hope it keeps pressing on and pressing in to the dark places of sin in my heart. I hope Christmas will keep disturbing my peace like those angels disturbed those shepherds at their work place.
I hope Christmas will disturb you this year.
Merry Christmas, you Thomas lovelies. The hounds will leave a nice round of the finest Irish cider in your stockings this year.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the begining, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.