A short reflection during Advent.
Emptied of his majesty,
Of his dazzling glories shorn,
Being’s source begins to be,
And God himself is born!
– Charles Wesley, Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord, Hymn IV
This phrase floored me this morning. Thank God for poetry and hymns and the foolishness of poets and hymn writers (and theologians and preachers, too).
How can the source of being begin to be? Aristotle argued the beginning of all things to have an ‘unmoved mover,’ a source who was not acted upon, someone who was “the alpha…the beginning.” Maybe this someone could or couldn’t be known, according to Aristotle.
Charles Wesley – and the whole orthodoxy of Christian faith – would beg to differ on the knowing part.
How can the source of being begin to be? Beats me. The Incarnation is a beautiful mystery. Embracing it seems to be the only option for a person of true faith. Mary Syzbist puts it this way in one poem for her collection Incarnadine:
But you can’t have two worlds in your hands and choose emptiness.
It’s times like these where I feel like it’s easier to relate to Mary, who “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I don’t think she could explain them either. But she held two worlds in her hands. She stared them both down and picked faith. Picked truth. Picked love.
She picked the source of being. God, grant me the faith to do the same, every single day.