The Fate of an Oracle

Christmas"Christmas" by scottfidd is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Sometimes it’s a blessing that we cannot look into the future.

I wonder how we would be able to handle life if we were fully aware of what is going to take place, or have a clear foreknowledge of what will happen to people we love and when. I wonder what will we do if we also get an inkling that no matter how grim the future is going to be we will not be able to do anything about it but have to simply learn to accept whatever happens.

I guess, if we cannot do anything that could rectify a potentially horrible situation we are most likely going to regard this gift as a curse rather than a blessing. What's the point of knowing the future if we can't tinker around to ensure the best possible outcome for ourselves and those we love?

However, we don't need to be an oracle to have a sprinkling of prescience. There are certain things in life that we are well aware of, and yet we like to remain in denial as long as it's possible only to be taken aback when the eventual becomes a reality.

Sometimes the awareness of the future is not necessarily about specifics the way fortune tellers do. Sometimes there's the larger picture filled with myriad possibilities that are quite obvious and yet not the kind we want to accept

Last years' family group picture at Christmas for instance. How many of us look at such photos and think of mortality not as an abstract concept but as an eventuality? How many of us think of such photos with the notion that however beautiful and picture-perfect those moments may be - they may not last forever!

The idea that life is transient is a fact but not something that we like to accept but we do so reluctantly anyway. Somehow it's the nature of life that makes us to do so because no matter how much in denial we may be the reality does encroach and suddenly we find one or two people missing from the pictures.

Sometimes sickness or accident or injury or some calamity snatches our loved ones. We pray and hope for the best, and sometimes what eventually happens is not something we want or wish. It shakes our world like never before and we are no longer the same. We feel that this is an unfair and undesirable situation even though deep down we know that this is how life is and we need to come to terms with it.

We can be realistic and say that everyone passes away and we don't need to be a fortune teller to know this fact. We just know and yet we place this thought at the back of our mind and keep it under lock and key. It's better this way, we think, and carry on with life as if everything is just perfect.

In a way it is good that we don't live with this dread all the time... that we don't live like pessimistic prophets who live on a diet of the worst case scenarios because doing so would rob us of the passion to live and enjoy life to its fullest.

If we think that nothing will last forever we resign ourselves to fate, and that somehow, we rob ourselves of the blessings life brings in living.  It is not running away from reality but about seeing how best we can live life, make the most of what we have with the little time available, and see people we love as treasures worth cherishing rather than as transient beings.

Festivals like Christmas can serve as rude reminders when people we love are no longer around, or that some in a group picture are no longer with us.  We can be heartbroken and that's perfectly normal. We can be devastated and that's ok, too. We can grieve and that's part of the journey as well.

All we can do is ponder over the Christmas story and remember what it is said of Him whose birth we celebrate this season.

'Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?'

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

(1 Corinthians 16: 55-57)


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