Celebrating the 12 days of Christmas
with short reflections on 12 gifts
Doubt is not an agreeable condition, but certainty is a deplorable one. Voltaire
Balancing the gift of faith is the gift of doubt. Questioning what we read, see, and hear. Challenging authority. Thinking for ourselves. Tiring for the doubter, perhaps; tiresome for others, almost certainly! Yet if we never doubt, we bestow faith where it is not warranted: in apocalyptic predictions, in figures with only charisma to recommend them, in wacky religions and diets, in sappy internet stories. In this season, maybe Santa Claus offers us a clue on how to hold faith and doubt in creative tension: believing in the principle of giving without measure, and yet not believing that there is an archetype who personifies the principle.
Every coin has two sides — perhaps only in Zen can you have one hand clapping! Without doubt, does one really have faith? Without sorrow, can we appreciate joy? Without despair, hope? I like to think that one can love without necessarily being loved back, but maybe that’s not possible either.
Jim – That’s interesting – the flip side of love not being ‘hate’, but ‘being loved’. I suspect we can’t love without ever having been loved, although I don’t know if there’s hard wiring involved that might over-ride experience.