Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Is Being Known

I would be dead without hope; “If your Law had not been my delight then I would have perished in my affliction.”  This is why Christmas matters.  It is all of Christ and all of hope made tangible.  I realized early on that I was capable of good things; I have lofty goals and a romantic disposition.  Beauty causes my heart to soar.  A brisk wind stirs my soul and music makes me sing.  I want the best for humanity but I am not deceived.  I do not expect world peace.

I am capable of great evil.  Christ constrains me.  Without hope hedonism becomes my god.  I will feast on food and flesh and never be sated.  Never.  Knowing this about myself at times leads me to despair.  And the world we live in; let’s not even begin.  So much dark.  Which is why Christ living here as a man makes Christmas of bedrock importance to me.

I feel awkward and out of place.  I don’t fit in.  This is my normal experience.  God gave me my wife, daughter and some close friends to make it through.  Christ knew loneliness.  You’re God living in flesh; pitching a tent among humans.  You know what not fitting in feels like.

Christ put up with all the junk that I do.  The selfishness of men and the unruliness of individuals; poverty, hunger and sickness experienced all firsthand.  I live with my brokenness.  Christ sees into the heart of man.  Wicked governments?  He was crucified by them. Sin his stripes. Whores his best friends---you think they didn’t share their torment, shame and anger with Him?  I am reminded of the song by Rich Mullins, ‘the whole world rests on the shoulders of a homeless man; He had the shoulders of a homeless man.’

Christmas is being known.  It is that beautiful mystery; ‘For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are; yet without sin.”  For He is the image of the invisible God…by Him all things were created…all things have been created by Him and for Him…He is the beginning and the end.  Christmas is all about hope.  Being fully known I’ve been bought by the blood of Jesus.  He is with me in my struggles here where I don’t fit in.  He has reserved me a place imperishable and undefiled.  Finally home fully known.  Entering into rest and realizing hope.

Monday, December 07, 2015

This Isn't A Call To Walden

My phone died.  The whole weekend without being stalked, followed, liked or texted. I didn’t wake up to my phone; didn’t check it before bed and went a whole night without beeps telling me someone cared.  My Saturday night was restfully quiet; I went Sunday morning without screen time.  This experience isn’t that unique.  I’ve had a Smartphone for a month.

This isn’t a call to Walden.  There is visual and visceral delight in seeing your life flash in Instagram.  How tremendous to be followed by people you’ve never met; and who cares why they’re following you?  Putting your family photos and activities out there is a sane safe thing to do.  Truly---I’m borderline addicted.  And Facebook is a great mix; pics of kids; prayer requests and political posts.  The knee-jerk is to respond to every half-baked post.  Wrestling with that; grace and light are good; inflammatory repartee---perhaps not.

I’m seeing my phone’s death dimly through this grid (call it a life app) I’m working through.  When all the information and data stream in unfiltered its overwhelming.  Adrenaline flows and stress mounts.  There is no peace.  Doing the things I enjoy (the things that make me come alive) restores my passion.  Life posted and pictures ‘liked’ in Instagram is positive.  Monitoring my walks on Strava ties me to technology while I’m walking up hills I’ve not seen; praying prayers I’ve prayed before.  Tying technology to my life is good.  Getting tied down by it isn’t.