At my stage in life—and with my collected genetic predispositions hugged tightly around me—I am happy to announce that I am by and large “unremarkable”. For those of you keen enough to notice a hidden meaning in this word, my thanks for your remarkable insight!
Yes, this is a medical term of great importance, bestowing great joy. As the recipient of some of the finest medical tests available from modern science, I read that word with special relief and thanks. When it’s included alongside the special designations and numbers of medicine, “unremarkable” seems like a very special way of saying something like, “Yep, we looked at this guy’s meanness glands, Wiggins valves and psychoctagonal conduits, and found nothing out of the ordinary!” (Other than, of course, I am probably the only person you know who possesses not only meanness glands, but also fully functioning Wiggins valves and psychoctagonal conduits!)
Nothing out of the ordinary. My inners and outers are just like most people’s. If a motley crew of us were all standing in a medical lineup—looking for suspects who don’t do what their doctors suggest—I would not stand out. “Just another guy. Conventional physiology. Nothing special here.”
Another way to look at this: These tests announce that I am not possessed of medical deviations that might warrant remarks. My numbers lie within normal ranges, my limbs work the way they’re supposed to, my sensory organs are picking up signals and reacting routinely. Not necessarily all of me, but enough of my body parts to merit my checking the GOOD box when asked about my overall health.
What this means to me as I write this is, of course, more than just another part of self-awareness in my older adult years. I am happy to be unremarkable in so many other ways. I am glad to be one of God’s common creatures. Undeserving as I am, I carry around genetic predispositions that tend toward health. At birth, I was given a full measure of everyday physical and mental gifts. And throughout life, I have been encouraged and blessed by the miracles of wise nutrition, consistent exercise and ample sleep.
So here I am this night, writing to you about “unremarkable”—a gift that is actually incredible every time I read it on my test results. What I’m moving toward here goes beyond thanks to God for this gift of ordinariness. That thought path leads straight toward an amazing truth: God’s remarkable gift of Jesus the Christ! As another ordinary Christmas wends its way toward my inner senses—wonder, calm, grace—I am struck once again by an astonishing fact: This God loves me—like you, an unremarkable being—so much that God sent Son/Brother Jesus to redeem and commission my ordinary self towards God’s holy will.
With other regular folks—you included!—I will spend this familiar season filled with awe when we gather together in our unremarkable fellowships of faith to praise this beyond-ordinary God. With you I will retreat quietly into the calm of Christmas—it’s there for the finding—so that I can answer God’s call: To take the unremarkableness of my life and make something good of it. Together you and I can change the world so that it turns back towards the Good News that none of us is a minor god come to Earth.
To worship and adore God in Christ—like us, another unremarkable human!