Christmas Countdown – to less than ten percent


I love the bible. Not for what it says, but for how it has changed me. Not for what it tells me, but for how I am open to hear Him. And not for how it guides me, but for how I want to be guided because I know my life will be so much better today and tomorrow.

Maybe my life is a parable, Paul.
Like conception to baby to anonymity to three years to cross to ascension kind of parable?
Like as in “timing”, Paul.

For a few years I have wondered if the life-cycle of the bible reflects my own. An infant Chosen People guided through tantrums and playschool. A teenage Chosen People journeying through rebellion and narcissism. A young adult who knows it all and then knows nothing. An adult with family and friction and death and birth and life and hope and despair and love. Finally love. Love with less and less condition. Less and less “fences”. Less and less reason to need.

Timing and parables.  We talk of both.  In a big picture kind of way.

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold Luke 1:5-25

And today He drew me to the whole assembly praying, the proud distance they measured out between God and themselves, the religious attention to detail, the speed of worship (no more than one hour please), how formal their worship (sorry, we always stand in this spot).  But then how freaked Zechariah is when the very God they all gather to worship actually shows up!  And how we have a virgin birth before The Virgin Birth. How our preferred headliner, Joseph, knew he hadn’t “done it” with Mary, and how our support act, Zechariah, knew he couldn’t do it with Elizabeth. Not for childbirth.  And how we seem to forget that. How support act, John, and his raggy outfit and his raggy style was a great warm-up act – but only that. Not the real deal.  Like me. Like you.

We are not the real deal.  Or else why our lack of faith?  Why our current day “we are impostors … we are not worthy … we must ever be sinners saved by grace.”  Why the “give us more faith – show us the budget – give us the bank account – send us the volunteers – show us a sign (which we then debate to see if we think it possible)”?

I was never keen on museums, Paul. I am not a fan of glass display cases. Not a fan of being adored too much. When I “come to life” you all freak out on me.

Remember you and “girls”?
Not sure where you are going with this Lord …
Remember how you idolised girls. Made them untouchable because you were taught they were untouchable? Remember how girls terrified you? Remember how being kissed was not your choice? Remember how that freaked you out?
I should add He and I are trawling some very personal memories here – so there is no need for every excruciating detail (I hope!)
Nothing to worry about, Paul. Because my point is this. Would you still “freak out” in the same way?
Phew … !  No.
Why not?
Because I “know” girls/women now. They are just like me – like anyone. If I choose to have pre-conceptions, to have expectations, to have entitlements, to have no worth or value … I will cause emotional train-wrecks along the way because I know me much more now … less and less “freaks me out”.
Like babies?
Like babies.
Because you are a father and grandfather.  But when you were younger?
I never understood babies when I was a child. Which is why mum and dad never left any of us alone for long with our wee brothers and sisters.
But now I know babies.
Like me?

And that question … stopped me.

Because when I stop and think – I realise that I still don’t get Baby Jesus – I think I have never really “got” baby Jesus.  I still prefer to airbrush the images … add the sweet smelling hay … turn up the thermostat several degrees so we are all nice and cosy … add the ambience  – nice sounding sheep – the twinkling star – the angelic Mary gazing eternally without every getting cramps in her legs – the all-knowing/all-forgiving Joseph frozen in this perfect Christmas card nativity scene.

But “baby Jesus”?  As more than part of the cute and cuddly scenario …?  Baby Jesus who sinks back into anonymity for the next thirty years … ?  That Jesus?  I have a gap which I prefer not to fill.  I don’t want it filled.  Don’t need to worry about that stuff.  Just complicates stuff that doesn’t need complicating.

Which leaves you with less than ten percent of my time with you.
That ever strike you as “odd”?
You never wonder about that small detail?
Yes it does and yes it has – but we are less than a week away from Christmas dear Father – and I have a mountain of stuff left to do.  Do we really have to do this now?
We don’t have to do anything, Paul.
But do you remember where we started … ? 

And I am drawn again to What if original sin is not “it”?  What if – by focusing on the cross and the blood and a bloodbath of grace – we miss what “it” is really all about?

Maybe my life is a parable, Paul.
Like as in “timing”, Paul.

.

The countdown continues …

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