‘But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish’
We have just been given a pair of reindeer clad Christmas ear muffs! I am hoping to show them off this Christmas. It got me thinking. It is very easy to cover our ears each Christmas with what have become ‘the things of Christmas’. Enter stage left; snowflakes, Black Friday, the John Lewis Christmas ad, boozy parties, family happiness (or stress), Winter Wonderland and, of course, reindeer ear muffs.
The book of Jonah speaks powerfully into what it means to avoid the presence of God. God calls Jonah, (unmistakably so), to go to Ninevah to speak against it. Jonah won’t have it. He puts on his ear muffs and heads in the opposite direction (Ninevah was roughly North East, Tarshish roughly South West). He is unapologetic. He does not want to engage with the presence of God, or any of the plans God has for him. Many share Jonah’s reluctance today. Within the church we are always in danger of preferring the comfortable familiar rather than the uncomfortable unfamiliar. We run away from the presence of God, ear muffs in hand. And outside the church, as Christmas approaches again, alas many will chose to close their ears to what Christmas is really all about; the radical love of God breaking through the messy indifference in the person of Jesus Christ. Ear muffs be gone!