Monday, December 22, 2008

By: Rick Porter

*Our blogging break continues, the silence is wonderful!
As promised - a guest writer...
Please welcome our Uncle Rick ...
(We affectionately call him our Funky Unky.)
Read previous Christmas post here.

(Listen) A few words for Christmas

We all know someone who speaks rarely and powerfully. Often older, it is as if they’ve learned that a few precise words cut through the thick fog of verbal overkill. The verbose among us envy them.

The ability to restrain talk while initiating thought is not my gift. I launch, then aim. This results in collateral damage to me, and sadly, sometimes to others.

Over-supply devalues. Print too much money and you have inflation, even hyper-inflation. Too much product on hand forces price cuts. If the same is true of words, then verbal value is at an all-time low.
Whole television networks exist for the primary purpose of filling hours with opinion, observation, and reaction, some of it informed. AM radio is all talk.

The internet has made us all authors if not movie-stars. From updating our Facebook status to blogging endlessly, we produce cheap words tasking others to sift through the wordpile for value.

Not only are we filling every page, screen, and airwave with words, we are told to keep the updates and information coming. There you have it. The literary equivalent of an all you can eat buffet! “We are out of opinions over here!” Get more.

One must ask. In a world of nearly 7 billion people, is one more opinion really what we need? Like my college speech teacher used to say tongue firmly in cheek: “Shout more, your argument is weak.”

But, I continue to pile syllables on sentences on paragraphs, adding to the clutter at the insistence of people dear to me, the Livesay tribe.
[LIVE-SAY...a name which in one word captures the balance of living and speaking in proper order after the manner of St. Francis: Preach the Gospel at all times – if necessary use words.”].

The Bible is clear that God works with words. According to Genesis, He spoke all that is into being. But He was amazingly economical. “Let there be” a few times over pretty much did it. Unlike today, when we haggle over the meaning of meaning and what “is” - is. It was a simpler time.

Non-being was non-existence. “Let there be” from an all-powerful Creator brought existence out of non-existence. God, both ancient and big, could speak words that changed everything.

Christmastime is the celebration of God’s ultimate Word. All creation, which, according to Psalm 19, now “pours forth speech” "day and night” is trumped by re-creation. Taking verbal economy to new levels, God speaks His loudest, most lasting Word through a non-speaker. Gurgles, coos, and cries made infantile declaration of a new era. Hebrews 1:1-2, in the quaint rhythms of the King James says: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son...”

Indeed He has.

And before they could say “Is not this the carpenter’s son?”, that Son was speaking from a wooden cross: “It is finished.” And it was - but it wasn’t. He still speaks to our Father on our behalf and makes a declaration (that is currently being fulfilled) from the throne of God, “I am making everything new.”

I really do not need to know the up-to-the-minute price of crude, the ups and downs of the Dow, or the wind chill temperature in some place great distances from my own wind chill. These are transitory.

But I do need a better word.

I do want to know His name: “...JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” And I long for His invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We all need His hope: “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Perhaps there is a reason that “Silent Night” is the best loved of the Christmas carols. Out in the world there arises such a clatter.

Listen. Do you hear what I hear?

Do not lose this Christmas Word in the reporting, relating, retailing, and retelling.

Turn everything off and let the Child’s whimper whisper as in the phrase from Gloria Gaither:
“The word of the Father became Mary’s little child, and His love reached all the way to where I was.”