Ice caves like this are an invitation into the unknown. How far does it go back under the ice? Is the glacier stable or liable to collapse at any moment? The disturbed water at the mouth of the cave suggests a recent icefall…
Gulls are flocking at the entrance, probably looking for fish stunned by fallen ice. They give a sense of scale: this is a BIG cave in a ginormous ice wall. There is beauty in the blues of ice that formed hundreds of years ago, and the strata show some of the turbulent changes that have shaped the glacier. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Would you want to go inside? Most sensible people prefer to look on from a safe distance! It is really dangerous to enter such a cave.
Now take that thought into the Christmas narrative. Mary miraculously pregnant; an angelic message promised a wonderful future but Mary needed to giver her consent. Joseph facing ridicule… his young fiancee is expecting, and Joe knows the child isn’t his. A sophisticated group of wise men, pagan stargazers, are traversing the Middle East guided by a Star. Shepherds near Bethlehem are about to have a rude awakening! Willingness to explore the unknown seems to be the uniting factor: some call that faith. It’s belief with legs.
Then there is Jesus. The mystery of Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit- with God the Son taking on the fullness of humanity and laying aside divinity for a season. God becoming flesh, the Creator being born in miraculous ordinariness. “Self-emptying” himself of glory to enshrine humility. Like all babies, there must have been that growing and becoming, the harrowing birth, the shock of air and touch and sound… into the unknown in order to make known. Only God could do this.
A cold, hard reality. From heavenly realm to bed of straw- and a life lived in the shadow of a Cross.
We stand at the feast of Christmas, looking back on a troubled year, and then glimpsing the gaping gateway of 2023… into the unknown. Except for Jesus, who promises to walk with us into a future that is in His safe hands.
A known Guide invites us into an unknown adventure. The unknown, becoming known through faith.