With Christmas barely a day away, I cannot help but recall the Gospel account of the birth of Jesus. Poor, weary, and compelled to travel far from home with his pregnant young wife, Joseph was surely wracked with anxiety, aware that just as life easily takes root, so also does it easily perish. The child about to be born had a most unusual origin and Joseph recognized in this the hand of God, a hidden spiritual agency in that most common of human acts, the transmission of life. Yet very few of their many neighbors, as well as those multitudes they encountered on their journey, perceived that this seemingly ordinary birth — which some likely regarded as a shameful occasion — would change human history and be celebrated for many thousands of years.
You needn’t be a Christian or a religious believer to understand that there are moments in life and moments in human history when everything changes…forever. Today, our world stands at the threshold of a new reality that will forever change us and give unexpected meaning to our very existence.
No longer content to passively wait around for beings like us from elsewhere in the Universe to make Contact, we have begun to recognize our own agency in the matter by sending out carefully crafted messages that indicate our desire to welcome others into our Family. Soon, we will also begin sending “seed packages” to planets and moons that may be hospitable to our kind of life. Indeed, it may well happen that the former — Contact — will lead to cooperative efforts for the latter — Seeding the Universe.
It is life itself that will bring together humans and other intelligent beings from elsewhere in the Universe. Our shared experience of the beauty, value, and precariousness of life will furnish us with that which has been lacking until now: a reason for Contact. Brought together by our celebration of life, we will be bound by a shared mission to ensure that life — which easily takes root yet also easily perishes — continues and flourishes.
In this our day, it seems to me, we can look to Christmas and find in past historical events — which for many of us bear the mark of divine agency and still today hold mystical significance — a truly cosmic reality with meaning for every human being.
December 23, 2017