Jesus embodied a vision of life characterized by overflowing generosity.

The generosity of God that is the fundamental reality of the universe was demonstrated in the gift of this child the magoi came to honour with their reverence and their gifts. God pours forth into the world and we are encouraged to follow this pattern:

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
 who, though he was in the form of God,
   did not regard equality with God
   as something to be exploited,
 but emptied himself,
   taking the form of a slave,
   being born in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5b-7)

To see clearly requires beginning with a vision of life that accurately reflects reality. And the life Jesus revealed is a life of abundance and excess. There is always more beauty available. Love never runs out.

In I Corinthians 13:8, Paul wrote,

Love never ends.

The word translated “ends” is ἐκπίπτω. There is no perfect English equivalent for this Greek word. The root of ἐκπίπτω is the verb “to fall” – ἐκπίπτω means literally “to fall out of”.  In I Corinthians 13:8, Paul is saying we can never “fall out of” God’s love. There is a steadiness at the centre of the universe that we can trust.

Hubert Benoit, the French psychotherapist who was forced to give up his career as a surgeon after being wounded in the Allied bombing of Saint-Lô in 1944, wrote

if I look at the life of my body I observe that all kinds of marvelous operations are performed spontaneously in it without the concourse of that which I call ‘me’. My body is maintained by processes whose ingenious complexity surpasses all imagination. After being wounded, it heals itself. By what? By whom? The idea is forced upon me of a Principle, tireless and friendly, which unceasingly creates me on its own initiative.

Zen and the Psychology of Transformation, p. 106)

We do not need to create our own lives. There is no such thing as a “self-made man.” Life is all gift. It pours forth endlessly, sustaining, creating, and recreating in an endless outpouring of goodness and beauty.

We can open the treasure chest of our lives because we know that the treasure chest is full and inexhaustible. We can risk the adventure of self-giving because there is nothing we need to protect or shelter.

The magoi were able to journey to discern the fullness of light in an impoverished dwelling, in a tiny visions, and a small child because they knew that, at the heart of all life, there is an inexhaustible supply of wisdom, goodness, truth and beauty that never runs out.

In the movie “The Big Short”, Dr. Michael J. Burry sends an email telling his investors why he is closing down his hedge fund company Scion Capital. He writes,

I met my wife through Match.com. My profile said, “I am a medical student with only one eye, an awkward social manner, and $145,000 in student loans.” She wrote back, “You’re just what I’ve been looking for.” She meant “honest”, so let me be honest. Making money is not like what I thought it would be. This business kills the part of life that is essential, the part that has nothing to do with business. For the past two years, my insides have felt like they’ve been eating themselves. All the people that I respected won’t talk to me anymore, except through lawyers. People want an authority to tell them how to value things, but they choose this authority not based on facts or results. They choose it because it feels authoritative and familiar. And I am not, nor ever have been, “familiar.” So…so I have come to the sullen realization that I must close down the fund. Sincerely , Michael J. Burry, M.D

Burry knew that, in the end, the star the magoi followed is not out there somewhere, but is a treasure buried deep in the human heart. When we open the treasure chest of our lives, we will find there the wisdom and guidance we seek to enable us to see clearly and live honestly in the light and truth that was embodied in the life of the person the magoi found as they followed the intuition and guidance of God’s truth.

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Music frequently carries a power that touches the deep wellspring of abundance at the core of life.  “It Is Well With My Soul” touches that abundance of life, but sprang from a profound series of losses experienced by the hymn writer Horatio G. Spafford. He was a prominent Chicago lawyer who invested heavily in real estate in the north of an expanding Chicago in the spring of 1871. When the Great Fire of Chicago reduced the city to ashes in October 1871, Spafford lost most of his sizable investment. That same year his four-year-old son died scarlet fever.

Two years later Spafford decided his family should take a holiday in England. He was prevented from leaving with his family due to business commitments, so sent his wife and their daughters eleven-year-old Anna “Annie”, nine-year-old Margaret Lee “Maggie”, five-year-old Elizabeth “Bessie”, and two-year-old Tanetta on ahead.

On 22 November1873, while crossing the Atlantic on the steamship Ville du Havre, their ship was struck by an iron sailing vessel. 226 people died, including all four of Spafford’s daughters. His wife Anna survived the tragedy.

Upon arriving in England, she sent a telegram that began, “Saved alone.” Spafford then sailed to England, passing the location where his daughter’s perished. According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, Spafford wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” on this journey.

Again with apologies for the atonement theology, here is a stirring version of this powerful piece of music:

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