Thursday, December 22, 2005
The Christmas Gift
Poor Job. How frustrating to have lived in a time when all that was shared with mankind was the law of the Lord. Grace was yet to come.
All he had was the law and it didn’t make sense. No one could obey every law (though Job did far better than most). What happened to him seemed an unclear punishment for an unclear crime.
We still get confused. We want everything to make sense. We want the events of our lives to be part of a balanced universe, everything clear, everything fair. The good are to be rewarded and the unjust are to be punished.
Sometimes things just don't seem fair.
For many it gets a little harder during this time of the year.
Donald Miller shares in Searching For God Knows What the idea that we are wired for a relationship with God, and since that is screwed up we seek our identity in each other. He argues that we need to understand who we are by what people think of us, by what we own, what we wear, what we drive. We find our value and honor in how we are treated, especially by those who know us. We place higher personal stock in those close to us, and when they fail us, it costs us more.
We are all so needy (and generally we need much more than we give). That is why there is an inherent imbalance in human relationships. We demand recognition of who we are without giving that recognition to others.
There is an infinite source of affirmation through God. But our selfishness shoves Him aside, and we feel the lack.
There are other reasons people feel blue during Christmas. It is such a big emotional investment. We build up expectations for ourselves, for others, for a sense of peace and love and belonging. We set ourselves up for failure because we aren't creatures where such things come naturally. Additionally, the length of the season creates huge expectations. From Thanksgiving to New Year's is a very long time to bank on the universe playing fair.
When we are hurt during this extended season, especially by the loss of someone close to us, the memory of that loss taints the future seasons as well.
I cannot get a Christmas tree without remembering the first tree I got for my first child... on the morning he died. The sight of that tree leaning on the front porch while police and medics and friends came and went is still clear in my mind's eye.
Many people experience a Christmas when someone close is suddenly not there (Father, bless the Cryders and the Sawyers, may they feel You near). It leaves reminders for years to come. Old wounds throb to the beat of "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night".
We are simple yet complex creatures. We are not ruled by our minds. We are ruled by our desires, our hearts, our animal natures, our selfishness...
It is in setting ourselves aside that we are elevated. It is in being a servant to others that we are exalted. The greatest servant of all time was the incarnation of God who made Himself nothing so that He could love all.
What an amazing thought! A being of pure love who wanted to share His love with others so much He permitted His own creation to spit on Him, to beat Him, to torture Him, to murder Him.
It is a bluish Christmas for many because humanity has an empty spot. Not just an empty spot where a loved one was, but the empty spot that lies within each human being, even the ones surrounded by adoring sycophants.
As long as we stare at that empty spot we will feel empty. But when we turn away from ourselves, we are filled.
What care He must have for us, what love, that He would set aside His omniscience, His relationship with the trinity, so that he might crawl into creation through the womb of a young woman, learn to walk, go through growing pains and acne and feet that are suddenly too large and voice changes and rejection from those He loved, so that He might bring us into that relationship with our creator.
We tend to think about gifts at Christmas. What a wonder that Christmas began with the greatest gift of all! The gift of a love relationship that is always true, always faithful, always there.
If you have stumbled onto this blog and haven’t accepted that gift, if you don’t feel it or understand what I’m talking about, leave me a comment so that you and I can find another way to chat. Let me share with you personally what He wants you to have this Christmas. He wants you to be loved... f o r e v e r.
Merry Christmas, all of you!