Spooking The Rabbit
Some time ago I was involved in do-it-yourself project at our house and, as usual, feeling somewhat tense. I don’t consider doing-it-myself my forte and I usually count finishing a project without doing anything amazingly stupid as a success. For this reason, as I was nearing the end of the project without any catastrophes I was feeling pretty good about it. It was then that I discovered I had left a much needed tool out in my shed. Not wanting to lose momentum, I marched as quickly as I could out the back door, intent on getting the tool and getting back to work.
Because I was so focused, and moving so quickly, I slammed the screen door open into the side of the house with a loud thud and continued my march at full speed. My path took my diagonally across an L-shaped part of my house, making the path sort of the third side of a triangle with the two walls. I was halfway across when I noticed the rabbit.
The poor creature had been contentedly munching grass right between the two walls when suddenly a loud and fast-moving creature had blocked his way of escape. Believing himself to be in mortal danger, after jumping straight up into the air an amazing distance, the rabbit started to run toward the forward edge of the building, the same edge I was marching toward. Judging it could not make it, he did an instantaneous reversal just as I was coming to a halt, and ran behind me and across our yard and the neighbors. I last saw him, still running, two houses away and it would be easy for me to believe that the poor thing is still running and is somewhere in Tennessee by now.
As I reflect on that incident it reminds me of Christmas. I meant that rabbit no harm at all. Indeed, my wife, a city girl, is so taken with the wildlife in our backyard I would have been in serious trouble had I harmed it. She wasn’t even happy I had spooked it so badly. But, from his perspective, I was terrifying. He had no way to grasp my innocent, even favorable, intentions. It is the same with us and God. He loves us and cares for us but, as we see from Scripture, He terrifying to us and beyond our capacity to grasp.
The only way to solve this problem is one I could never do with the rabbit. God became man, and it all started at Christmas. Theologically, in terms of our salvation, I know Christmas is not the main event. That takes place at Calvary and the empty tomb; which is why many Christians deplore the over-celebration of Christmas. But I am not one of them.
Instead of spooking the rabbit (us) God became one. Frankly, without the incarnation we really could not know much of anything about God. He would be remote, awesome and terrifying. But in the manger at Bethlehem all that changed. So go ahead and celebrate the night that God became man. Sure, we may get a little over-the-top at this season. But can you really think of anything more worth getting excited about?