Monday, December 23rd, 2013
At last the mystery has been solved: How does Rudolph’s red nose glow? Researchers in Sweden caught the phenomenon on a thermographic camera which measures heat emissions. Rudolph’s redness is due to an oversupply of blood to that part of the famous reindeer’s anatomy to keep his nose form freezing. Reindeer forage for food in the snow and God (evolution and Mother Nature to unbelievers) arranged for reindeer to have warm blood in their noses so their proboscises can function in the deep of winter. That’s not all that’s interesting about reindeer. They pause to pee. They are unable to walk far without relieving themselves, about every six miles, and the Laplanders of Finland in olden times actually used this information to measure distances. Flying? The 1820s poem by Clement Clarke Moore immortalized the idea of Santa’s reindeer whisking him through the air. That idea may have come from reindeer eating hallucinogenic mushrooms and then shamans drinking their urine to get high, and thinking the reindeer were flying.
Fascinating speculation, but what’s the spiritual point of this? Myths, legends, and cultural stories develop fanciful exaggerations from real facts. But myths, whether “urban” or cartoonish shouldn’t be the basis of belief, especially when it comes to eternity. Creation to Hindus began when either the god Vishnu projected his thoughts into material substance or the god Brahma, sitting on a lotus flower, expressed his essence into the world we know. Buddhism has no beginning for anything, only endless cycles of reincarnation. In fact classical Buddhism sees even asking the question of origins as pointless. For Christians, “In the beginning God . . .” is the source of all that is, including morality, meaning, and eternal life. Unlike Rudolph’s nose, Creation by the God of Scripture is no myth. It’s rooted in actual historical reality. The writers of the New Testament said so (Hebrews 11:3) and so did Christ who validated the Genesis account (Matt. 12:40). Whether it’s flying, red-nosed reindeer, or the truth of man’s beginning, it best to get your facts straight.
“Silent night, Holy night.” We all sing that refrain this time of year, part of what may be the most beloved of all Christmas songs. In reality, the circumstances of Christ’s birth were anything but silent. Angels were singing loud enough to get the attention of shepherds minding their flocks. And the stable/cave where Christ came into the world certainly wasn’t silent. I was raised on a farm and I know that away in that manger cattle weren’t really lowing, they were mooing, very loudly. Same for the donkey’s braying. If there was silence it was the deep peace in the hearts of Mary and Joseph who knew what others didn’t. This was no ordinary birth.