When we have good health, good times, good relationships, we feel grateful and at peace. But sometimes when we want to bring light to transform the sad, dark corners of our lives, we hit our limits. As mortals, we feel powerless to create the result we want. It’s then that we turn to a higher power. We ask for a miracle, a surprise outcome that can’t be explained by logic. Many times we're disappointed. We forget that miracles are not at our command.
These holidays are all about miracles.
- Christians embrace Jesus as the light of the world. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Christ child, the Son of God, a miracle of conception.
- Jewish people celebrate Chanukah by lighting candles to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. They remember the miracle long ago, when one day’s supply of oil lit the menorah for eight days.
A miracle by definition is a rare event that we can’t explain by natural or scientific law. In fact, miracles are the great face-off between religion and science. Religion attributes astonishing events to God, a supernatural power that transcends science. But does knowing the science of how something functions make it less miraculous? Think of how awesome rainbows, snowflakes, love, flowers and sunsets are. It gets more confusing. Some theologians are great scientists, and many scientists are people of religious faith. Still, no experiment can proceed with God as a factor, and claim to be scientific.
Do miracles have to be an “either religion/or science” happening? My definition is much looser. Today I witnessed a bad car accident, and thought, “It’s a miracle the driver survived.” For me, it was a way of expressing gratitude for the positive outcome of something that could have been disastrous. Do I have to designate where the gratitude is directed? Is it like an email that has to have a “.god" or “.science” address to be delivered? Religion understands miracles as acts of awe-inspiring Grace. Science accepts miracles as mysteries to be solved. In both cases, miracles are beyond our power to create.
Albert Einstein, the Nobel Prize winning physicist, grappled with this contradiction. He came to the conclusion that,
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
We get disappointed when we treat miracles as if they are deserved responses to rational requests. Instead, they are stunning surprises; astonishing because they are beyond the limits of what our logical minds can conceive.
Any way you look at it, miracles exist. Enjoy every one!