In Waiting for God, Simone Weil describes when God became personal to her.
She writes: “In 1938… I was suffering from splitting headaches; each sound hurt me like a blow… I discovered the poem… called “Love” [by George Herbert] which I learnt by heart. Often, at the culminating point of a violent headache, I made myself say it over, concentrating all my attention upon it and clinging with all my soul to the tenderness it enshrines.
“I used to think I was merely reciting it as a beautiful poem, but without my knowing it the recitation had the virtue of a prayer. It was during one of those recitations that Christ himself came down and took possession of me.
“In my arguments about the insolubility [i.e. difficulty or unfathomableness] of the problem of God I had never foreseen the possibility of that, a real contact, person to person, here below, between a human being and God.”*
This devotional is coming out a few days before Christmas. Since we celebrate it every year, it can become a tradition we observe instead of an open-minded and open-hearted awareness and celebration of what God has done for us in Christ.
John 1:14 communicates some of the theological significance: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” That’s right. In the person of Jesus, God himself has come to earth on a rescue mission. Weil had never imagined that this soul-seeking God of personal contact might make contact with her.
Is Christmas rote to you? It happens to the best of us, especially when we have mile-high to-do lists and personal problems to navigate.
Along with John 1:14, consider these words from “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”: “Peace on earth and mercy mild / God and sinners reconciled… Mild He lays His glory by / Born that man no more may die / Born to raise the sons of earth / Born to give them second birth.”**
As Christmas approaches, don’t get distracted by the tinsel and eggnog. Ours is a God of personal contact. Be open to the ways he is going to come into your life with his powerful and renovating grace and truth in the year ahead.
—Here’s a short video describing what you can expect at Westminster Church in Barrie on Christmas Eve.
–The Up Devotional will now go on pause (since I’ll be on vacation starting Monday) until January 2, 2023.
–*As quoted in: Tim Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (New York: Riverhead Books, 2008), 222.
–**Words by Charles Wesley (1707-1788).
–George Herbert is a celebrated English poet. He was a pastor who never had any of his poems published until after his death. His poems are published as “The Temple.”
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.