A Reflection for Late Advent

Every day now we hear from this prophet or that prophet that great things are going to happen.  Be alert; be watchful; be ready.  In this final run up to Christmas I am sitting with the question, why are prophets, prophets?  Maybe I should concern myself with what’s for lunch, or the big question, why did the Grinch hate the Whos?  Sorry, but here I am asking why prophets are prophets.  If you don’t want to go there, you can stop here.

Still reading?  Humans by self-definition are RLL creatures.  We are rational, logical and linear creatures.  It’s how we get through our day, but even more important, how we know things; we are the rational animal.  As an engineer, I was RLL all the way.  Scientists pride themselves by being RLL all day, etc.  Were prophets RLL people?  They had to be or they would not have been able to feed and dress themselves.  Prophets had to be RLL+.  It is this + that I am interested in today.  Is there a different way of seeing?  Let’s look at RLL by subtraction to see if that helps.  What can we take away that isn’t RLL but still part of our experience?  Here is my take away short list: art, music, poetry, jingle bells in the snow, and you have good old RLL left in its clean, unadulterated perfection.  Does this get us any closer to why prophets are prophets?  Prophets see the +, the big picture, the whole picture, and they have to tell us how great it is.  That is what we all do when we see great things, we have to talk about what we see.  That’s why prophets are prophets.

We can choose not to listen to Christmas music, nor to artfully decorate our homes with lights and greens.  We can choose not to watch Christmas movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or Dicken’s “Christmas Carol”.  We can choose not to celebrate Christmas, choose not to see the whole picture and nothing bad happens to us, you say.  We can remain tightly, safely, in control in our RLL lives.  My push back is to say that the worst things that happen to us happen inside.  The risk is real that we could dry up inside, but it is not too late.  We can choose to see, like the prophets, that great things are going to happen.  We can be RLL+ people too.  Your heart could grow three sizes today.

John Houk, jpc      December 19, 2023

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