Happy Christmas! Instead of rambling about the consumer-driven mess Christmas has become, I’m just going to point you to a good story to read.
Christmas Eve huh? Well, that’s what the calendar says, but I don’t believe it. Christmas sure has changed for me since being a little kid. I’m looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. It also doesn’t really feel like Christmas because my girl friend’s not here. She’s in Indiana, with family. Yeah, kinda sucks. But she’ll be back on Saturday (aka, don’t look for a Daily Thought on Saturday, I’ll be with you know who). :)
Christmas. This is when the Savior of the world was born, right? And we celebrate by decorating a pine tree and giving each other presents? Yeah, makes sense to me.
At a kid’s Christmas program a few weeks ago, the teacher was sharing some drawings about Christmas that the kids had done. I think the coolest one I saw was a picture of the baby Jesus next to a picture of the older Jesus, hanging on the cross. The kid made a pretty major connection–one most of us forget. But what really amazed me was the Jesus on the cross. He had a big huge smile. It may not be exactly accurate, but it really makes you think.
“Christmas” he thought, “doesn’t come from the store.”
“Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.” (How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss)
Sometimes I have to stop and ask myself who I think I am. Just who do I think I am? Everyday I paste my thoughts here for all to see–as if I have it all together. The truth is I don’t. I don’t have everything taken care of, I don’t have it all in place, I don’t know what’s going on. Half the time my searing sarcasm and cynicism is directed right back at myself–and if I don’t intend it that way, it probably should be.
I just feel like I’m making myself to be some great guru, dispensing his wisdom through the Internet. A wise sage, who never does wrong and has all the right answers. Quite honestly, I don’t know the answers, and this is my poor attempt at grasping for those answers.
“But then I stop and look and think about how big I really am / Oh let my pride fall down / I’m a little man.” -The Supertones, “Little Man”
“A little child can not do a bad coloring; nor can a child of God do bad prayer. ‘A father is delighted when his little one, leaving off her toys and friends, runs to him and climbs into his arms. As he holds his little one close to him, he cares little whether the child is looking around, her attention flitting from one thing to another, or just settling down to sleep. Essentially the child is choosing to be with her father, confident of the love, the care, the security that is hers in those arms. Our prayer is much like that. We settle down in our Father’s arms, in his loving hands. Our mind, our thoughts, our imagination may flit about here and there, we might even fall asleep; but essentially we are choosing for this time to remain intimately with our Father, giving ourselves to him, receiving his love and care, letting him enjoy us as he will. It is very simple prayer. It is very child like prayer. It is prayer that opens us out to all the delights of the kingdom.'” From The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning (page 155)
How often do we really think of God as Father, as Daddy. So often we think of the colossal cosmic creator, the mighty God of judgement and vengeance, the God of wrath. But he is also the God that loves us as his dear children. Like a loving father, he wants us to curl up in his lap. The masterpiece we spent hours coloring may look like slop to another, but our Father frames it. It’s refreshing to think that when I pray–when I stumble for the words to say, when my mind wanders and I find myself thinking of tomorrow’s test, or even when I nod off to sleep–it’s refreshing to think that God is still pleased. My prayers never amount to more than child like mumbles, but that doesn’t matter to God.
God adores the simplicity of a child. Too bad we’ve gone off and ruined it.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16-17 NIV
I must apologize for skipping the last couple of days. We’ve been messing with our computers, adding a hard drive to my parents’ computer and totally reinstalling Windows 95 on my computer. So I’ve been up really late wrestling with the software from hell. As of now my parents’ computer works fine, and mine won’t even start. Thank you Bill Gates.
But hey, what’s there to complain about, it snowed today!
Ever feel really out of place? Just feel like you don’t fit in at all? Hanging out with some high schoolers has given me that feeling recently. I went to a concert the other night, one of these local, underground punk things. It only cost $3 to get in. I was wearing the same thing I wore to church that morning–which isn’t as bad as it sounds–my Mother did frown at me when we walked out the door. My faded jeans, year and a half old sneakers, and a nice sweater that made it church-acceptable. Of course that’s not exactly standard dress at a punk show.
I stood there near the back of the crowd, just looking around. Baggy jeans, wallet chains, piercings everywhere imaginable, a few tattoos, either punk rock or ancient thrift shop T-shirts, purple hair, skater shoes, and the like. Nothing I haven’t seen before, but of the entire crowd, I was the lone minority. Makes you think a little bit. I couldn’t help but wonder how many conservative church leading Christians would frown and scoff at this room full of “Christian punks.”
We tell the world that Jesus is for everyone, slave or free, Jew or Gentile, etc. But do we really accept everyone into the house of God? Or do we demand that certain people tuck in their shirts and comb their hair?
A girl cries on the phone, her father yelling in the background, and an ambulance echoes past outside. The tears drip to the floor, and she has to go. Choking back the sobs, she hopes to escape to her pillow, dreading another run in with the rampaging parent.
Parenting is one of my biggest fears. Who am I to bring a child into this world? I hardly have anything figured out myself, and I’m supposed to be ‘Daddy Knows Best?’ Quite frankly, I think few daddies know best nowadays. Am I the only one who seriously thinks about parenting? It’s not like it’s something that will happen soon, but it is probably down the road eventually.
It seems like every one else in the world just has children. No one stops to think about what they’re doing. It seems like it’s been that way since time began. When people are having sex they don’t stop to think that they could be bringing a child into the world. Not that I have any experience, but I think that’s what makes sex so holy. At least ideally. Most people today toss it around like a dirty rag, and the result is bad parents, forgotten children, broken marriages, and the current scandal in Washington. Not only is sex a physical symbol of the union between two people, but it’s the beginning of life. Everybody else on the planet seems to miss that fact and the result is people bringing children into the world without thinking about it. Do I know anything about raising a kid? No, but who cares, I’ll have three.
I think being a parent is one of the most underrated responsibilities in the world. Being a husband or wife is probably a close second. When you become a parent, you and your spouse (it does take two) are bringing a life into the world. A life that you are responsible for. A life that relies on you. Not only until it learns how to walk and talk, but it will rely on you until the day you die. Does anyone else realize the magnitude of that? That child is your creation. Your act of love. How can you just flippantly have a child and not realize the responsibility involved? Sure, society tells us our role is to get a job, get married, and have kids. But the responsibility still exists. Sadly, few pay attention to that responsibility, and the result is devastating our society.
Coming up on Christmas, it amazes me to think that God is also a Dad. He’s not just the Father of the Christ Child, He is our Father. For all the parents who ignore their duty, there is One who fulfills it. For every lonely, deserted, teary-eyed child out there–there is a Daddy who loves them.
“I didn’t even know who God was, until He told me He’s my Dad/ And it’s just because He loved me/ And He’d rather die than live without me/ He loved me and He’d rather go through hell/ than go to heaven without me/ And I love Him and I’ll stay with Him until the end of time/ One thing I know God gave His life for mine/ He will always be, will always be/ He will always be there” -The Supertones, “He Will Always Be There”
Ah… it finally snowed today. There’s nothing like stepping outside and hearing the snow and ice crunch under your feet. Crunch, crunch, crunch. It’s just not winter without it.
Well, today I finished all my work for finals. I’m done. WAHOO! Tomorrow I turn some stuff in, and begin the 12 hour trek home. Home. A chance to get away from all the busy-ness at school and relax. Yeah. Relax.
(you can tell it’s not gonna get too deep today)
I think Christmas break can’t be fully realized until you’re in college and can understand the joy of the semester ending and heading home with no responsibilities. In high school there was always that one teacher that would give you a Christmas break assignment. And you always went back to the same classes. Not anymore. Now when it’s over, it’s over. You go home and don’t have to think about those classes ever again. That’s what I call a break.
I don’t feel very profound today.
I learned two things today. Well, I probably already knew them, but a review is always a good thing. 1) Doing nice things for people is nice. 2) Attitude is everything.
Whew. Nothing like losing your voice while singing praise to God.
I learned something about this Daily Ponderings deal today. People will remember what I write and hold me accountable for it. I guess that’s a good thing, but it’s kind of a slap in the face at first. But if you think about it, it’s really me slapping myself in the face.
So, on a totally unrelated tangent, I have an 8:15 final tomorrow, and I’m going to bed. So I leave you with a totally unconnected and thought provoking quote:
“When you look at me, you don’t see a man. You see a black man.” – Carl Lee Haley, A Time To Kill.
When I think about that, I realize that the only hope is in the line of a Rich Mullins song:
“My Deliverer is coming…