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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Moose Lessons

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Years ago Canadian news told of a large moose that wandered into a residential area in Calgary, Canada. The moose ended up on the lawn of a lady who called the Fish and Wildlife agency. An officer was dispatched to try to coax the magnificent animal back into the wild. After two hours of absolutely no progress, the officer finally shot the moose with a tranquilizer dart and the moose eventually collapsed on the lawn.

The reporters who had been following this event interviewed the woman at the house. They asked her what she thought about the moose which had passed out on her lawn. “I’m surprised,” she answered, “but not as surprised as my husband will be. He’s out moose hunting.”

Her husband had gone out looking for moose and a large moose had come to him. That is the message of Christmas. While humanity spends its time wanting to find God, God comes to us.

I know we can sometimes wonder where God is. We can wish he would do more to make himself known in these days as he did in the past. We wouldn’t be the first to wish that. Even the Old Testament prophet Isaiah prayed: “Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence! As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame! When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked!” (Isaiah 64:1-3)

Isaiah is lamenting that too many years have come and gone without a sign of God’s presence. He was longing for God to make himself real in some tangible way. Have you ever been there? Like Isaiah, have you ever wondered where God is? Have you tried to pray and felt nothing, seen nothing, or sensed nothing?

We cry out to God to “burst from the heavens and come down” to give us some evidence that he is real and present. But most of the time, we feel as if God is hiding from us.

Maybe the problem is with us? Maybe because we have so many other voices, noises in our life, God would have to shout to be heard? Maybe God’s preferred way to come to us is more often in a whisper rather than shaking the earth or tearing open the skies? Maybe it’s easy to miss God’s voice when it comes to us! 

Like the teenager with the loud booming car or the one with head phones too loud, they slowly damage their hearing to the point they miss the subtle sounds of creation near them. If we are never free from the blare of the world around us, if we are constantly being bombarded with racket, we can become numbed to quiet voices. And in the middle of the noise and commotion, God comes down only to be missed.

This Christmas could be different. You could experience God if you wanted. It would mean pulling away from all the noise. You’ll have to place yourself in an environment where God has your attention. Maybe you could attend a Christmas worship service this year? After all, God has said, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) That seems to put the next move in your court.

What a wonderful way to approach Christmas. Turn off the noise, tune into God, and discover the very one you want to see is already near. When human kind couldn’t reach God, God came down to us. Christmas is about having that awareness awaken again. God came down to us. He came down to me. And He is nearer than he appears to be.

[Ron Otto, Lincoln Christian Church]


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