Monday (December 20, 2021)

“When the boys grew up, Esau became a hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man dwelling in tents.” Genesis 25:27

 While I served as bishop, one of my staff members was an identical twin.  I had heard Jeff tell many stories about his brother over the years, but I had never met him, until their mother passed away and I went to the wake.  And the two brothers looked so much alike that I really could not tell them apart… that is, until I talked with James and realized that they were not identical at all.  They were more like two sides of one coin; complements to one another rather than clones of one another.

In the scriptures there are many stories about siblings, but only two noteworthy references to twins.  One of these is St. John’s description of the Apostle Thomas as “the twin.” Although we never meet Thomas’ brother and don’t have any idea what either man looked like, in John’s highly symbolic way of telling the story, it is generally believed that “Thomas the Doubter” was the inseparable twin of “Thomas the Believer.”  Faith and Doubt are twins; two sides of the same coin; neither identical, nor contradictory, but rather complementary to each other even for the most faithful.

The second twin story, of course, is that of Jacob and Esau, who were quite clearly NOT identical twins. And though the symbolism is a little bit less explicit, what seems quite clear is that Esau was a man of ACTION and Jacob a man of REFLECTION – two sides of the same coin; complementary to each other.

As we come into the last week of Advent, many of us are completing a time of great activity in our lives.  There is the shopping, and putting up lights on the house, and planning gatherings that are a little bit safer to plan this year, and wrapping, and baking, and sending cards, and… and the activity just seems to keep getting more intense right through Christmas Day.  Like Esau, we are people of action with little time or energy left for reflection.

So, it is a gift, to my way of thinking, to have this little story of the birth of Rebekah’s twins show up in our daily readings, with its simple reminder that as great as all this activity may be, it is only one side of the coin.  And maybe this is exactly the week to carve out just a little time to pause, to breathe, to imagine, and to ponder in the quiet part of our heart, the miracle of that silent and holy night.

Pastor Wayne Miller

Stir up your power, O God, and come.  Bless our activity in this season, that it may always bear witness to your glory.  Open our hearts to listen, to receive, and to reflect upon the wonder of your love for us and all creation.  Amen.