Albert Schweitzer in Out of My Life and Thought wrote on his thinking about Jesus:
Today Jesus does not require men to be able to grasp either in word or in thought who He is. He did not think it necessary to give those who actually heard His sayings any insight into the secret of His personality, or to disclose to them the fact that He was that descendant of David who was one day to be revealed as the Messiah. The one thing He did require of them was that in both thought and deed they should prove themselves men who had been compelled by Him to rise from being of this world to being other than the world, and thereby partakers of His peace.
As I studied and thought about Jesus, all this became certain in my mind. Because of this, I concluded my Quest of the Historical Jesus with these words: “As one unknown and nameless He comes to us, just as on the shore of the lake He approached those men who knew him not. His words are the same: ‘Follow thou Me!’ and He puts us to the tasks He was to carry out in our age. He commands. And to those who obey, be they wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the fellowship of peace and activity, of struggle and suffering, till they come to know, as an inexpressible secret, Who He Is…” (pp 58,59) [italics mine]
Several things struck me as I read this and at the same time reflected on the lack of peace during the Christmas season. According to Schweitzer, the written word of God tells us that Jesus requires us to “rise from being of this world to being other than the world.” But it is during the ever-lengthening commercial Christmas season that we are less of the “other world” and more of “this world”. That is to say, we are less Christian at the very time when we approach the celebration of the birth of the One we call Savior and Lord. It is the time when we are less in the peace of Jesus, and more in the chaos of the powers of the world.
The other thought that I had is how do we come to know the One whose birth we recognize on Christmas day. Schweitzer and scripture says it is through being obedient to the voice that says “Follow Me” that the truth about Jesus is revealed. Responding to this is no easy task, especially at this time of the year. As we rush about seeking the best bargains, and gorging ourselves on them, we spend less and less time “in the fellowship of peace and activity, of struggle and suffering” so that Jesus might be revealed to us.
So my prayer for you these “holy days” of Advent and Christmas is that you can rise above the world, and be of the “other” world, where Jesus reveals Himself and offers His peace as you travel with Him in a “fellowship of peace and activity, of struggle and suffering, til you know….Who He Is.”