Not sure if anyone will really check the blog today. That takes a lot of pressure off, for sure, but leaves me with the feeling you get hollering down a dark well. So, here is a semi-pro, half-assed reading for the week. On Thursday evening I’ll post Paul Crume’s famous Christmas morning column on Angels for the Dallas ex-pats.
My book is off to the printers and we’ll start mailing it out in a couple of weeks. You can order it by clicking on the Paypal icon above. OR email firstname.lastname@example.org OR just shoot me an email. It’s supposed to be available on Amazon, too, in a couple of days.
In the meantime, here are my fabulously insightful and totally useless observations for the week:
I noticed Carvell Kuja playing with two pencils in church Sunday. I think he’s about three. He was holding the pencils up to his head and making them into either horns or antennae…….I couldn’t tell his exact intentions. But I did remember this time a few years ago when he was the Baby Jesus in the Christmas Nativity on Christmas Eve. I know Christ was perfect and all but I just have to think when he was three he probably took a couple of sticks and did the same thing.
One of our kids who graduated from high school last spring was home on leave from the Army. His Dad told me Josh is in one of the most highly selective and trained specialties the Army offers…….he disarms bombs, Improvised Explosive Devices. Jay said Josh will go through a whole year of training before he actually “goes to work” in the Mid-East. I thought a bit about the “year” part and wondered aloud if maybe the US would be out of there by then. But Jay reminded there will always be someone trying to blow us up. Sadly, he might be right. There are just some times when the term “job security” doesn't sound like the best thing in the world.
Normally, I would tie these two observations together with some sterling bit of insight but it’s not coming to me today. Baby Jesus playing with pencils and Josh White going to war. Maybe we should all pray that the Carvells and Joshes of the world can keep their innocence.
We have both granddaughters here this week. This means lots of TV. I think I've seen Polar Express about three times now. We made a gingerbread house and have been stepping on little balls of candy the size of BBs ever since. I'm thinking we might should have watched Polar Express that afternoon instead of making the gingerbread house.
Sarah is ten and last Sunday announced to the whole family that she doesn’t believe Santa is real. We all looked at each other and realized the jig is up. This leaves eight year-old Essie in a position to defend something she’s not entirely sure of either. A couple of days later, when we were alone, Essie looked me straight in the eye and asked, “Granny, do you believe in Santa?” I was a little surprised with myself when I immediately answered “yes” without hesitation or qualm.
Of course I believe in Santa. Everything about Christmas is magical. NONE of it makes sense. I stand up every Sunday morning to say I believe Jesus was born of a virgin and that he is equally God and human. That certainly requires a greater suspension of logic than a generous man in a red suit with flying reindeer. “Believe” doesn't require any proof. It means you can think something is true even when it doesn’t make sense. Santa Claus is small potatoes compared to some of the other stuff God can do.
Lately, some of my conservative and fundamentalist brethren have taken to saying the magic doesn’t exits and Santa is a pagan symbol. I say, "Get a Life." Santa poses no threat to the God I believe. My God can handle Santa. Relax.
What is this whole Christmas thing, if not magic? Christmas is magical in the best sense of the word. A bunch of tired humans gather in church sanctuaries and leave their worries behind. No job? No money? Facing serious illness? At odds with someone else? Suddenly troubles are fleeting and left at the Narthex door. Magic.
On Christmas, more than any other day, we realize a powerful and loving God is in charge of things. God loves us all enough to do things that defy logic and physics. A child is born of a virgin. Then later comes back from the dead. At Christmas we are reminded that anything is possible to God.
Somewhere in the midst of our ponderings the sound of bells emerges and lends an ethereal background music to our soul-stirrings. We can’t explain anything. We don’t have to. All we have to do is release our inner child and believe.