When it comes to Christianity, it’s fair to say that I’m a non-believer who has wanted for many years to be a believer (not even necessarily of Christianity, but of any spiritual tradition that presupposes an essence or spirit that exists apart from our physical immanence on this mortal coil). The closest I’ve come has been through my membership in the Friends Meeting of Austin.
Every December, I hold out hope that somehow, some way, I’ll be swept up in the spirit of the season and transformed into a person of faith. And it’s passages like the following from the Geneva Bible version of the Gospel of John (known by Quakers as “the Quaker Gospel”) that make me believe it just might be possible:
“He was not the light, but was sent to bear witness of the light. This was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” [John 1:8-9]
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw the glory thereof, as the glory of the only begotten Son of the Father) full of grace and truth.” [John 1:14]
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every man that is born of the Spirit.” [John 3:8]
The last verse may be the best description of the mystery of the human condition I’ve ever come across. And so this Christmas, as with those of the past, I ask myself, “Whence?” and “Whither?”