Ruthie Dennison and the Amazing Dinner
A couple Wednesday evenings during Advent I have driven to Norman, Oklahoma to have dinner with my counter-part in Campus Ministry at OU. Besides being an amazing campus minister, Rev. Daniel Dennison is both a friend and an outstanding father.
Daniel and Mindy have three of the most amazing little kids. Their oldest child Ruthie is a dynamo of thought and questions. Being in Ruthie’s presence is like being in the presence of a developing thinker.
A couple weeks ago on Wednesday, December 9, 2015, Ruthie asked to eat at Sooner Legends because Santa Claus was going to be there. When Daniel and the kids arrived, I was already seated. Daniel came in and excused himself to the bathroom. Ruthie immediately informed me that this Santa Claus that was not the real Santa Claus because the real Santa Claus was busy getting ready for Christmas. Then she paused and said, “I am not sure how all this works!” I said really, “Well, how do you think it works?” Ruthie smiled really big and said, “I think it might be magic.”
I have reflected on her comment for the last several days. I am not exactly sure what in her mind felt like magic; however, I must admit that I think the ideal of Christmas—the things that we ask people to believe and the very concept that God as the Creator of the Universe chooses to come into our midst in the infant, peasant from Galilee does feel just a little bit like magic.
As Ruthie and I were talking, Brick (her younger brother) was busying himself with looking for food and McKenna (her little sister) was jumping up and down on the booth seat. Energy, conversation, desire—the stuff of life was bubbling out of these three beautiful children. I felt so blessed to be in their presence and be able to graft off that energy.
I thought to myself in the foggy part of my brain that I remembered those days of dawning awareness. I remember those days of magic when belief and life were sitting before me and I was just beginning to comprehend the complexity. I am not sure I have ever been able to move beyond magic as a default answer. You see, catholic (universal) Christians like myself have a default answer when things get hard to believe or think through or comprehend. We say, “It is a mystery.” However, to be honest I deeply appreciate the honesty of Ruthie’s answer, “I think it must be magic!” That is to say more profoundly—“I don’t know! But I choose to believe!”
Children, you see, and I think Jesus is right about kids, are a window to the parallel universes that makes faith possible. In this season, this time of sentimental belief of the infant child Jesus, it is easy to forget the profound mystery that we are asking the world to accept.
“God in the peasant infant Christ entered into the world through the womb of a virgin mother.”
I am not sure about you, but I genuinely believe this affirmation and at the same time find myself somewhat drawn to the “it must be magic” response.