Monday, December 23, 2013

That's the spirit!

Christmas time is here! Isn't it wonderful? There's delicious food to be eaten, laughter to be shared, and memories to be made in this annual tradition. Relatives are visiting or visited (for better or worse), and humorous get togethers with old friends frequent our smart phone calendars, wrapped tightly around our mad dash for gifts. The enrapturing smile of children opening their gifts and the sigh of relief from millions of workers and students on a short break or vacation alleviate the pressures of society for some short, but very sweet, moments.

On the flip side, millions of people every holiday season get lost in the shuffle. Depression, loneliness, unemployment... these are definitely not uncommon to most families. Most people in the social media world are a little disgusted by the consumerist nature of the United States, yet there aren't many steps taken to quell that belief. Some are dismayed by the simple use of "X" in "Xmas," when "X" in the original Greek is the first letter for "Christ," so nothing is replaced in my opinion (yes, I just had a nerd moment), while others hate the term "Happy Holidays."

I think in our current culture it's difficult for almost everyone this time of year, because when we've settled down with our families, and reflect on the year that has almost passed by, we feel like we've missed an opportunity, or made a mistake, or damaged a relationship. We're fearful of the consequences. We doubt our abilities and our knowledge to move forward with... well, anything.

Recently, my old church's worship director helped record a wonderful Christmas album featuring many of the musicians who volunteer their time for Sunday services. It's well done, with personal, modern twists in lyrical structures of classics. However, the part that moved me to near tears was the final track:

A child, in one take, emulated Linus' rendition of the Christmas story. It's filled with mistakes. He called Caesar Augustus "Keeser," and instead of a "census," he says "a Kansas should be taken." It's simply delightful. Should he have been corrected and do another take? Probably, but I think it's brilliant. He bravely carried on, without much thought to his pronunciation limitations. This recitation of Scripture helped me understand a few things:

1. I'm still young, and I do not have a perfectly wrapped up answer to life.
2. Jesus tells us to have faith like a child, and I think we've seriously missed that idea. We put up charades and masks and piles of knowledge and know-how, it's easy to forget that we should be okay with our limitations, and grow in them
3. We're going to make mistakes. We will believe something differently 5, 10, 30 years from now. It's okay to have a different opinion or belief. Circumstances change.

I hope y'all have a wonderful Christmas season. Reflect on this past year with renewed hope; the hope given in a dirty, germ-infested trough in Bethlehem.

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