Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday November 30, 2009

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn, Luke 2:7

Two events today have turned my thoughts to eternity. The first is quite mundane; I needed to clip my nails. I can’t believe they need it already. I may be getting older and slowing down, but my nails won’t follow suit. So on more frequent intervals than expected, the clippers have to come out again.

The first indication that they’ve grown without my permission or knowledge is the yell from the pillow beside me—Ann’s getting her legs scratched in bed again! The second observation is a disturbing clicking on piano and computer keys and an increasing lack of control—what little control I have—on those keys, and a matching lack of harmony and spelling accuracy—again below my dubious standard. How do women with long fingernails cope?

The problem is, nail clipping for me is a hazardous activity, particularly my toenails. As my arms are getting shorter, or my legs longer—not sure which—it is increasingly difficult to reach my toes. The toilet bowl is ideally suited to my handicap, as placing my foot on the rim helps me reach my furthest extremity, and lo and behold, the clippings fall into the ideal receptacle. Trouble is, the clippers with a spring lever sometimes spring out of my hand and head in the same direction. Must remember to flush the toilet before . . .

I understand that hair and nails apparently grow, at least for a while, after death! Probably an extension of that zest for life they refuse to abandon in old age. I doubt if my nails will get clipped when I’m boxed, and Ann needn’t worry about scratched legs. But the thought remains: is our life in our nails and hair? And is the continuation of that life what we call the afterlife? Doesn’t sound too inspiring!

The Bible makes it clear that our physical life is in the blood, not our hair and nails that apparently refuse to die when we do. While animal flesh is given for food, drinking the blood is forbidden, emphasizing the Bible’s assertion of the sanctity of life. But while our physical continuation depends on our blood, the real source of life is elsewhere—believe or not, in the babe in the cattle trough announced in our text.

If he is the source of life, then the blood is only a temporary requirement; life beyond this physical one only requires him, not the trimmings necessary here. The creator of life determines when that life will end, and as our hair and nails suggest, it continues after death.

And the other event reminding me of the afterlife—it’ll have to wait until tomorrow!

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