Fact or Faith?

ImageThe night is December 24 and it’s one of the coldest Decembers with more snow on the ground to make a 10 year old the happiest of kids and a 61 year old query, “Why do I continue to live here?”

What are the facts of this night?  As Joe Friday would say, “Just the facts, ma’am.” It’s cold outside and I don’t have a lot of time.

  • It’s his second marriage, why do think this one will work?
  • She’s out of rehab next week, guess what’ll happen then?
  • He was acting that way since college, you think he’s about to change?
  • Israel and Egypt having meetings makes it easier to kill each other.
  • Gun regulations is like cutting my arm off.
  • “If I have to watch one more erectile dysfunction advertisement running through wheatfields…”
  • Doesn’t “gay marriage” mean gay sex?
  • Isn’t she 80 years old?  Why’s she trying to look 50?
  • He hasn’t worked a day in his life, why would he start now?
  • There’s a hitch to this savings coupon, I just don’t know what it is yet.
  • After what I’ve done, you think I am going to heaven?
  • The Catholic Church ordain women?  Are you crazy?  God doesn’t want it.
  • She hasn’t talked to me for 10 years.  Our friendship is over.
  • “The government has no right to interfere…by the way, did my government check arrive yet?

Don’t the facts always look grim and full of gloom?  Don’t the facts always stop time and then freeze it forever just like Wisconsin’s winter?  Don’t the facts cramp our style?  And what’s our style on a night like this?

“Well, you see, it’s like this.  A virgin is about to have a kid.  (If you’re new to this religion thing, you may wish to think about that sentence for a moment.)  Not only that but think of her silent husband who decides that this intervention of a third kind is “okay” because of a dream he had.  This is all presented to us in a nativity scene made very romantic and inviting that even Currier & Ives envy except for the mandatory animal deposits that regularly occur throughout this very sacred night.  (Quick, hide the straw!)

We’re quick with the facts but slow on the faith.   Or are we?  It is faith that brings folks out on a dark winter’s night to fight the facts.  Perhaps she will succeed after rehab and the second will last and the late night telephone call from a lost friend will begin with, “I’m really sorry that…”  Countries can successfully work together and the gay thing you’ll need to figure out on your own.

Those are the two “F’s” of this sacred night; fact or fiction.  Or wait?  There’s a third “F,” fantasy.  Are we just dumb Christians who hope against hope and this dark December night is our future nights?  Perhaps there’s a fourth “F” to complete our prayer.  “Fools.”  St. Paul calls us “fools for Christ,” fools for believing something that is clearly evident can have its own twists and turns, something forgotten can be remembered and renewed, and the unimaginable can be re-imagined; not because it’s sunny and warm outside with clear skies but because it’s bleak, wanting, yearning, dark and snowy.

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About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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