A widening of the imagination.

It came to me, recently, that faith is “a certain widening of the imagination.” When Mary asked the Angel, “How shall these things be?” she was asking God to widen her imagination.

All my life I have been requesting the same thing–a baptized imagination that has a wide enough faith to see the numinous in the ordinary. Without discarding reason, or analysis, I seek from my Muse, the Holy Spirit, images that will open up reality and pull me in to its center.

This is the benison of the sacramental view of life. -Luci Shaw

It seems such an overwhelming task to think of asking God to widen my imagination . . . that kind of thinking is often squashed out of us by adulthood. If I was willing to imagine God doing all kinds of things (even the things he promises he will do), who knows what kinds of bold prayers I would be willing to make. I would rather play it safe when it comes to that sort of thing. It’s so much less of a fuss, so much more convenient. It’s much easier to compartmentalize this way.

And yet. Every year, Christmas approaches and I am faced with the reality that the things I believe take some imagination. (This also happens at Easter.) There are angels and a virgin birth and stars guiding visitors from other countries. I tell this story to children, but, as much as I would like to, I can’t simply make it a children’s story (there I go again with the compartmentalizing). I can’t simply pretend that what I believe isn’t amazing. And, if I’m lucky, I won’t escape the Christmas season unchanged by these glimpses of the extraordinary.

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