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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Finding God in Christmas

Is Anyone Out There?

Did you see the other day the report of evidence on Mars that it may indeed have been able to support life at one time?  And there was one about a planet similar to earth possibly in some remote solar system.  Have you ever heard of SETI?  The organization whose name stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and their mission is to find other intelligent life forms out there.  There are those listening stations, monitoring the sounds from space and hoping to discover a message from something or someone way out in the somewhere.  And when we send out our space ventures, such as the old Voyager, there are things to indicate who we are as the origin of the device, in case somebody or something way out there finds it.  In fact, I have been amazed at the number of shows on the History channel that deal with topics such as aliens who visited earth long ago, or maybe not so long ago, and similar searches for other kinds of life forms.  There is a hunger for something to be found, and when anything pops up indicating the possibility of some life form, it makes BIG news!  The question is whether anyone is out there, whether we are alone or not.  Some people invest their entire life’s work into answering that question. 

There are lots of sci-fi shows and books with all sorts of alien life forms.  Even the recent surge of cartoon character movies of superheroes who originated elsewhere and are assigned to watch out for us, while there are the other creatures whose inclination is to destroy, the earth.  One of my favorites was the Men In Black series of movies.  Have you noticed that these beings are almost always technologically very far advanced over, and of much greater intelligence?  In many cases, they are also imagined to be so morally superior that they pity the poor, misguided humans who are always on the verge of destroying their planet and one another. 

If any beings like that actually exist, isn’t it just as likely that they could be much more stupid, very backward and morally bankrupt?  In most imaginations, even if the beings described are evil, they still usually end up more advanced than we are.  You never see dolts driving spaceships.  They tend to remain on the freeways of earth.  Maybe the only life forms on those planets are nothing more than bacteria and slugs.  Maybe a super mosquito here and there. 

It’s funny that there is so much curiosity, and so many efforts made to search in hopes of finding some evidence somewhere of some kind of life beyond our world, there is a desperate hunger to know that we are not alone.  

And yet, all the telescopes are pointed at the great beyond in their search, hoping to find the answer out there.  Instead, if they would turn the telescopes toward Bethlehem, they would find the clear answer that was given many centuries ago:  Emmanuel—God with us.  The whole point of the title name given to Jesus is that, starting with the birth of a baby in a manger long, long ago, God stated emphatically in human terms:  NO, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!  GOD IS WITH US! 

Unfortunately, some people aren’t satisfied with that answer, they want someone or something to be out there, but they want someone or something else!  Perhaps because, if they admit that God IS there, then the following question is what our obligation is to that God, what God expects of us.  I do think this entire issue, so clearly associated with Christmas, is also extremely relevant for individuals experiencing the intense loneliness that often accompanies divorce.  

Though your spouse may have left you, though you may have to celebrate Christmas with your children gone to another house, Emmanuel.  You are not alone.  Ever.  Because God does exist.  And he cares for you in a way nobody and no thing else ever could.  Best of all, you don’t need a gigantic radio telescope to find Him.  Just open your Bible and read…”And it came to pass that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus…”

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