There’s a provocative little quote from the late, great theologian Karl Barth (pronounced “Carl Bart”) that I love and tend to overuse – apologies for that:
“God may speak to us through Russian Communism, through a flute concerto, through a blossoming shrub or through a dead dog. We shall do well to listen to him if he really does so.”
Barth’s point is that God can meet us in places other than the pages of scripture. In fact, Barth would say, God can meet us anywhere God gosh darn wants to!
I can’t help but think this is a helpful little quote to have in our back pockets as we get closer to Christmas. Our next few weeks will overflowing with things that having nothing to do with the birth of an infant 2000 years ago in Bethlehem: evergreens and reindeer, cookies and present swaps.
Our work as followers of Jesus’ way is not to close our eyes and ears and mouths to the joy of all these traditions, but to look for how God might speaking to us through them. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Rom. 8:28)