Christmas reflections, version 2

Every year I tell myself
This is the year
That everything will fall into place.
This is the year
That there will be peace on the frosted windows of my home.
This is the year
There will be contentment in the deepest part of me.

And every year
There are just enough
Just enough
Little glimpses
Frozen moments
To give me just a glint of hope
That next year
It’ll be better.

The cynic in me
Says that I should have learned by now.
The cynic in me
Says that it’s not going to happen.
The cynic in me
Says that I am Charlie Brown
And Santa Claus himself plays the part of Lucy
Snatching the football out from before me
Every single year
Right before I kick it.

There is something bigger than cyncism.
There is something greater than consumption.
It is the very fact that we know to feel despair
That we know that
This is not how it was suppused to be
That gives me hope.

There is this eternity in our hearts.
And there was eternity,
And he was also a man
Born among us
Died among us
And he is gone now, but so close.

It is right that we remember him
With this
Happy sadness
Despair filled joy
Aching, longing contentmen.

And this all gives me hope.

And I come to this sudden understanding:
I do not love this Christmas by ignoring the despair we face
I love Christmas because of the despair we face.

Perhaps the delicious disappointments
arise from this tension this attention
we fufill so little of our potential
and yet we are enough to know that we could be so much more.

Despite all my yesterday’s promises I haven’t crawled far out of the mire
and yet I am ever so slowly crawling out of the mire.

A greatness, a nobility resides
not so much in us
as in our aspiration to greatness and nobility.

I am a gnat leaping into the darkness
With only the faint promise of the far side of the canyon
falling and leaping falling and leaping falling and leaping.
And There is this Jesus and he is
The eagle soaring across the gulf
As we are falling and leaping falling and leaping and falling and leaping
That we know to long to be him, to be with him.
This is my Christmas hope.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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