Saturday, December 04, 2004

Longing for ...

I've been reading Searching For God Knows What lately by Don Miller. He makes the strikingly real truth digestable... that to follow Christ isn't about rules and religion. There are a few really awesome things he's said that I totally relate to. Here's a short passage:

When I was a kid, and, to be absolutely honest, a teenager and perhaps even a young twenty-something, I believed God was like Santa Claus. I realize grown people whould not think God is like Santa Claus, but you wouldn't believe how perfectly convenient it was for me to subscribe to the idea. The benefits were astounding. First To interact with Santa Claus, I did not have to maintain any sort of intimate relationship. Santa simply slipped into the house, left presents, ate half a cookie, then hit the neighbors'. There was no getting us out of bed in the middle of the night to have sloppy conversations about why I was still wetting the bed.

Second: Santa theology was very black and white; you either made the list or you didn't and if you didn't, it was because you were bad, not because of societal pressures or biochemical distortions or your parents or cable television, but because you were bad. Simple indeed. Third: He brought presents based on behavior. If you were good, you got a lot of bank. There was a very clear reward system based on the most basic desires of the human heart: Big Wheels, Hot Wheels, Legos. You didn't have to get into the spirit of anything, and there was nothing sentimental that served as the real reason for the season. Everybody knew it was about the toys: cold, hard toys. Fourth: Kids who were bad got presents anyway.


Slowly, however, everything began to unravel. I tried to stop it because it was all so lovely and perfect, but there was nothing I could do. Truth grew in my mind like a fungus, and though I tried to keep it out, there was no resisting the epiphanies.

Santa went first, then God.

It is so real to be for a lot of reason. This isn't just additional reason to boycott Santa... but shows a much deeper issue of the human heart. We all can formulate our own expectations, only to be devistated that they aren't real. Just as this author had his ideas of Santa, and ideas on the right way to interact with the one thing that is real... I too have formed my own notions. I get busy in all my daily life, and so often find that I don't spend the quality time with God... just expect to get good stuff no matter what I do. Then there are times when I fall into the idea that I need to do more good stuff to make the nice list... rather than realizing God doesn't keep a naught/nice list... that it isn't about our behavior but all about what He has done. Jesus has made the only way for us to get our names on the Book... and it isn't about what we do or don't do... but about if His salvation has been applied to us. He came to give it away to all... but not all will take it in and make use of it. Somehow too in the midst of all this... we long for the simple things of life... overlooking that which is really good. Our tastes as a child are for sugar and sweets... but as we mature we begin to crave the finer things of life. Though simplicity is good... there's so much more than our childhood toys.

So... with all that being said... the past week has been pretty good.... yet rather hectic. Troubleshooting computer stuff... running about with swim practice, and somehow finding that no matter how my day feels... God makes it awesome because He's in it.

I'm getting my Christmas tree tomorrow. That should be exciting... my very first own live tree. I'm thinking through this whole Christmas season... how Jesus was really born in the middle of the summer... and how we were never expected to celebrate this time... but we choose to. I think we can become absent minded and get caught up in the marketing of it... in the rush of spending wads of cash on presents that express how superficial our relationships have become that we must depend upon material things as a gift... and wonder why there isn't this much celebrating of the rest of Christ's life beyond the seemingly harmless baby in a feeding trough. Why have we overlooked the cross, the abuse, the pain, the arduous and perfect life... the resurrection, and the daily indwelling of the spirit. Why? I don't yet know. But I want to be on the lookout that these things don't infect me... but that I celebrate the season with the outlook that Christ has lived through all this just because He loves me. What more can I ask.


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