Thursday, December 25, 2008
Love Came Down?
I know you are all wondering what I am doing posting on Christmas morning? I mean, come on! Doesn't that woman have a life?
Ordinarily I would agree with you, but we are in our first Christmas sans live-in children in twenty-four years. There are no pitter patter of tiny feet. There is instead a wake up call to a very surly twenty-one year old, who answers his cell phone with...
Ah, the innocence of youth...
As a Christmas present, we decided to give him an extra half hour of sleep. As a new parent, he's gonna need it.
So I am sitting here with my mug of hot Christmas coffee, listening to a very Jazzy Christmas CD and pondering a phrase we have probably all heard before.
"Love came down at Christmas."
And it occurs to me that, just perhaps, I don't believe that statement to be entirely accurate.
I think it is an immature conceptualization of faith as something that is given from on high and received down below. It teaches us to look up to God.
Now stick with me here. According to the Christmas story, the angel Gabriel came down from heaven to tell Mary about the impending incarnation.
But Jesus? He didn't come down. He grew within.
And that, I think is, a crucial difference.
When we were children, we thought that storks brought babies from (yes) on high and dropped them into parent's laps. Once we grew older, we knew that it takes a long nine months of inner nurture to bring forth a child. To say nothing of the hard labor required to birth it.
I remember the years of my youth, when Santa came calling in a flying sleigh (there's that on high thing again!) dropping down the chimney and leaving gifts in our greedy little hands, with no thought to cost or effort.
This year, I paid for Christmas, for the first time in my adult life. Everything from the tinsel to the bows, from the stocking stuffers to the baby toys, from the donations to charity to the ham sitting in the fridge. And I have a new appreciation for how much hard work goes into earning that money. Even a modest Christmas doesn't come cheap.
Christmas 2008 came literally from within (with a whole LOTTA help from you!) as I saw the creativity that God has blessed me with blossom into both a business and ministry (of sorts.) And for that, I am eternally grateful.
But I believe we are mistaken when we look up and ask for blessings to rain down upon us. Then we are like a child, asking (and expecting) Daddy to take care of us and catch us when we fall.
Miracles don't come from on high. They grow within the human heart. And they don't come cheap.
If we wish to see God's love at work in the world, we must turn inward. We must allow God to grow within. We must put in the time and effort.
Only then, will we quicken; only then will we feel a new heart begin to beat within us. Only then, will we know how Mary felt as she struggled to bring love into this hard world of ours.
Only then, will we know the true calling of Christ-mass and keep it all the year.
Now THAT'S what I call a Christmas miracle.
May the many blessings of love manifest themselves within your heart and family today, bringing you peace and joy...