With the month of December, the darkness of our northern hemisphere tilting away from the sun continues. Shadows lengthen. The darkness deepens. Perhaps that is a good backdrop to this month’s theme, The Gift of Mystery.
“Mystery” conjures a number of images in our time. On one level, mystery implies the unknown. It could be the mystery of what we will eat for dinner tonight, the mystery of how a favorite sports team will fare in the next contest, the mystery of the next election, or the mystery of the medical test results we are waiting on. Unknowns. Some of them we anticipate with delight and others with dread.
On another level, mystery is the word we might use to appeal to and talk about something much larger than ourselves. We speak of the mysteries of the universe, the mystery of what lies beyond death, if anything. We have experiences that we cannot explain. They are unplanned encounters with other people, with nature, with our inner selves, maybe with the divine or some aspect of Spirit, and they change our perspective and our way of being in the world. We may say that we entered into “the mystery.”
What both usages have in common is the appeal to some frame of reference that is beyond our immediate grasp. That unknown may be more mundane than magical or more magical than mundane, but they invite us to stretch our imaginations and our understandings beyond where we are. In other words, however we encounter mystery, it invites us to grow.
Mystery invites us to wonder, to open, to imagine, to listen, to understand. These are some of the experiences that await us through the gift of mystery.