The Second Sunday of Advent

I chuckled and smiled and just thought that this world is an amazing place! I heard in my
mind a few bars and the deep voice of Louis Armstrong singing ‘What a wonderful
world’. It was night and I was driving so I couldn’t see the trees of green! But my reverie
came about because I had just heard about something I had never knew before – and
the thought that there is so much in the world still to learn simply excites me – and made
me smile. I never knew that there was a Simpson’s Paradox!
Simpson’s Paradox is about when you combine
lots of data, each of which says one thing but when

you combine them then that ‘one thing’ either dis-
appears or it now says the opposite of what it said

before. There was a recent claim that there are
more deaths in vaccinated people between the
ages 10-59 than unvaccinated people according to
the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which then
began yet another round on social media against
vaccinations. However the original report said that
C-19 related age adjusted deaths were over thirty
times greater in unvaccinated people than fully

vaccinated people, so how can combining age spe-
cific data produce the opposite result? It comes down to age distribution of deaths (the

old die more than the young) and of vaccines (the older are more vaccinated than the
younger) and such variables – if not careful – can produce the paradox. The ONS is now

going to publish more data more regularly to better show the contexts behind the statis-
tics and the Simpson’s Paradox will be resolved.

My neurons wandered to another paradox that constantly stumps the world because the
world – and our self centred selves – don’t want it to be true. That a virgin could give
birth. That God could ‘fit’ into a baby. That God can ‘grow up’. That God can be just like
one of us with aches and pains, hunger and thirst. That God can die. That people make
outlandish claims about themselves isn’t weird to us but to make a claim to be God
should be viewed cautiously. If these things are not paradoxes then the world regards
them as nonsense. But by the light of an empty tomb when we look at them again, all of
a sudden the paradox or the mystery or the nonsense gives way to truth – truth all along.
This Jesus is Immanuel – God with us. And this God is different to anything we might
imagine. This God has come to rescue, to give life, to serve us! This paradox or mystery
or nonsense according to the world will be resolved – revealed – when Jesus reappears
in glory. And that is part of what Advent is about.
Another part of Advent is that Jesus has never left us – but his ‘masks’ are words, water,
bread and wine – hmm … maybe there are more paradoxes still. But how wonderful is
the empty tomb light because it still shines on us today and we can see and live – with