If you always do what you always did, you always get what you always got.
Another Christmas on the way. One week from now. All the traditions – family, work, celebrations, church, God, Jesus, baby Jesus, carols, cute, love to all men, etc. It is a lovely time of year. It happens each year.
For some that is not true. For some this Christmas will be a mask. Smiling on the outside and shredded on the inside. I know of a few who are shredded. Who smile. But who are shredded. For them the old traditions hurt. For them the traditions are a reminder of loss.
But for all of us – laughing or crying – joyous or joyless – there is one thing we can all do for (maybe) the first time this Christmas: be reborn.
“Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.” Matthew 1:18(a bit)
There were two posts today which my God Soft Hands Jesus clapped together like giant cymbals: CLASHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!
Little Monk talks about trust and how. Don talks about faith and how. Jesus talks about becoming childlike in the first, and says it’s all about faith in the second. And the cymbals?
Well, He grabbed my ears and did that surround sound, full technicolour, light-show thing.
Becoming a child … it’s all about faith …
It’s less than one week to Christmas, we love a good baby story, that miracle of life, that wonder of innocence, we are all programmed to “get in the mood”. Which is (partly) why those who have lost someone important hurt so much at this time of year.
But He asked me this today:
“If all you do each year is the same as last year – the same traditions, the same verses, the same carols, the same meditations, the same devotionals, the same church stuff – how do you honour Me?”
And I wonder … As “Christians” do we like to grow up – or do we prefer to stay in kindergarten? Do we prefer the comfort of doing what we have always done because it is safe?
“Instead of cooing over Me – why not use this time to become a child again, an innocent again, a babe again, an infant and child again in My presence?”
We live so much in the sentimentality of Love. My God Soft Hands Jesus lives in the reality of Love. We love the fluffiness of Love. GSHJ lives the jagged edges of Love. Just as a loved and loving child has a world in which curiosity is safe, questions are safe, “failing” is safe, giving is safe, receiving is safe, “being” is safe …
“It is all about faith – and that is where innocence and babies win hands down. They are safe. They love with the same ferocity I love. They love with the same lack of conditions as We. They know no better (or worse). They just “are”. They are not “cute” – they are how you used to be before you became all grown up and everything.”
I wonder – this Christmas could we each do something different? Could we see that baby of innocence as our role model? Forget the “Wow – guess what Jesus did for me” stuff this year – simply see that baby as our role model.
“You were a child. You are a child. All those times you have wept. All those times you have cried out. All those times you wanted to smash something. All those times you laugh uncontrollably. All the times you “do because you are”. All those times you forget to be sensible and serious and all grown up and everything.”
We all struggle with the simple stuff. We have layered over the simplicity with fear, with doubt and with “grown-up-ness”. We live with a doubting head so often, forgetting a loving heart is pining to join the party. Scared to let that pining heart rule our living. Fearful we will be hurt – again – and again (and what would people think of us then?) – so “becoming a child” becomes an impossible task.
“You are a child in a suit of adulthood. You are my Child. Allow yourself. It’s so much easier than you think.”
How? For me …
We all live behind a mask – and think it keeps us safe. It’s what we must do, it is what we have been taught to do … by whom exactly? Jesus? God? Love? Or ourselves – because we know best.
And just how does that “honour our God” exactly? How does “we know best” allow this God we worship to change anything?
So this Christmas, how about we let “that mask” be the one change we make.
How about we allow love to be the answer always. Love is the answer. And love always finds a way if we each allow love always.
How about, this Christmas we honour this “baby Jesus” by finding how to become His child again. By living without the mask we have each made and each think we must wear.
How about this Christmas we honour our Loving Father by being real – and find out for ourselves that we are always safe because we are – all – always Loved?