December 27, 2007

The tree is gone.

Christmas appears to have come and gone. And as I sit here, I note the speed to which the tree has been stripped of decoration and rendered to the cold night air out on the front yard…be gone tree. It’s not so much sad as it is quick in transition. To combat this abrupt change of pace I’ve put leftover eggnog in my coffee…and I’m not even a big fan of eggnog.

I do enjoy the holidays. They mean so many different things to such a varied audience. I imagine only God can truly appreciate the subtle complexities and nuance. To be sure, the heightened expectation and emotion tend to drive the bus…I have yet to remember a Christmas that ever passed by as a mellow autumn day of hookie down at the beach with a kite and a lawn chair.

It’s been a wild time of pruning, growth, changes and relationship. In all of it, the present has been the hearts of others offered freely. That my friends, has a newness and surprise that would put even G.I. Joe with kung fu grip to shame. Walking in those experiences as they are now expressed in my life constantly give me pause to laugh…enjoying the wonders God places before us.

This evening is truly the first in many weeks I’ve found a quiet moment to sit and write…sit and ponder over a cup of eggnog laced coffee. I saw a video today showing Jesus alone at his own birthday party…I’d hoped it would be funny, but it was sad. There was the classic movie - outdoor birthday party scene – streamers, balloons, cake, magician, enclosed trampoline –Jesus was alone at his party, and in the end, as the sun went down, Jesus sat at the curb as a stranger walked by. Happy Birthday. I was that stranger that for years.

I still can’t quite digest the Christmas-Jesus Birthday continuum, but I’ve begun to have an appreciation for celebrating an awareness of His arrival into the world. For that I am simply thankful. Thankful under the tension of the time, and perceived expectations of the season. It’s hard not to have a feeling that what we walk through, often well intended, is so much more about ourselves than about welcoming Him...even into our own lives. The doings (as doings do) overshadow the being…being with Him as you would a friend and father you loved and desired to be close to.

As I understand it. As I know from my readings back in the ivory towers of information and knowledge – Jesus wasn’t born in December. Now that in itself isn’t a reason not to pursue the celebration of Christmas those few days after the winter solstice. But it might offer a peaceful and private opportunity to walk in the hope of Christmas. It could be an un-Christmas, not unlike the 364 un-birthdays of Alice in her Wonderland. A time to spend with kite and lawn chair along the beach with my father.

What would that look like? To pick an odd day (or several) and celebrate and worship Jesus completely free of pretense…simply as you are compelled by his Spirit. Give to those in need, and then don’t tell anyone.

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