I lay in bed like an actor in the movie “Alien”. I wasn’t watching the movie but I remembered Sigourney Weaver’s character, Ellen Ripley, battling with the creature that broke through a man’s stomach from the inside out. It was a terrifying moment that captured how I was feeling as the alien had travelled through a grandchild, child, and mother and deposited itself in her husband. I tried every tactic I could to avoid the alien but unlike Sigourney it began to take me down and those around me began to depart leaving me to fight alone or wait for the inevitable hole to open and the monster appear with teeth chattering.
I looked up this foreigner’s identity and they had given it the name Gastro. One Google entry said it all, “Oh God!!! Make it Stop…Ghastro outbreak…” Despite my misspelling, when I entered the website I discovered it was a war game with goblins and the like. The war part I get, the goblins were certainly at work but Ghastro was no game for me. I searched further and discovered the Ghastro Pub in London where you could get two pints of beer for nine pounds which the thought of, for me, brought up more than a potential overseas adventure. Let the reader understand.
I am not a weak man normally but I am clearly no Sigourney Weaver when it comes to certain aliens. As I lay on my bed with everything within me wanting to flee the alien, and doing a pretty good job of it, I began to reflect on just how vulnerable I am. Despite all my strength, knowledge, wisdom and know-how, something as small as an uninvited germ reduced me to a weak, delirious, incapacitated invalid whose great life now revolved around a bucket. That’s humbling isn’t it!
People can be king hit, a person can be in an accident, the environment can do things we have not planned on and a germ can reduce you to nothing. All around us is the evidence of just how vulnerable we are and life inevitably revolves around not the bucket but the grave.
What a happy, pleasant article this is proving to be! Well that’s what gastro does to a writer. The gurgle of the article is only the outworking of other gurgles I do not want to elaborate on. I hope things will look up as I move to my thoughts for Christmas because gastro is not a thought you want to entertain for this season.
But my point really concerns our vulnerability and the desire to be safe. I live in an Australia where we are all incredibly vulnerable but where everyone thinks they’re safe. We may ride through calamities but as Sigourney dealt with one alien, the sequels - Alien 2, Alien 3, and Alien Covenant etc. etc. suggest that we are never safe. Hence the value of Christmas.
I have learnt a number of lessons in life but two are exceptional. The first is to know that where we are powerless there is only vulnerability. The second lesson I have learnt is that where Christ is, there is power. A power exercised for humanity’s safety.
The Christmas message is not one simply for the crib but it takes us all the way to the crypt.Christmas is not primarily about family, food and festivities. It’s about an appointment of the vulnerable with the one who can make us safe. The good news is that what Jesus Christ did for our world to offer safety requires no sequels. This was a one-off action by God to destroy hostilities and to open the door to life to the full. That’s what makes family, food and festivities so appropriate at Christmas. We have so many things to celebrate when the appointment is kept with the one who can make us safe.