Monthly Archives: December 2011

God With Us.

Merry Christmas  – God is with you.

Wonderful time of year, Christmas!  We get to spend it with the people we love, we have a break from the crush of living, we get to sing carols – and how good are some of them?  We get to eat turkey, Christmas pudding, sweets, treats and a stomach full.  People seem somewhat happier and maybe even nicer, and that is never a bad thing.  In the Northern Hemisphere we get snow, frosty breath, rugged up warmth, Christmas lights to make up for the shy absence of the sun – it has gone south for the winter and can you blame it?  And we have more Santa’s than you hope a child ever sees, and starts to put two and two together.

All good and all fun.  No need to get Cromwellian about it and ban everything ‘Christmas’ for fear of commercialization and a drift from the moorings of the ‘reason for the season.’  Mind you the Puritans had a point.  Still, being a party pooper isn’t very endearing and it didn’t make the remembrance of Christ’s birth more memorable to the average person/church goers.  Everyone likes Christmas unless they are a Grinch or a ‘good’ atheist.

It is up to us to celebrate in the midst of the tinsel and holly the actual purpose of Christmas.  In the gospel of Matthew we are told Joseph was to name the child Jesus, meaning ‘God is with us’ – ‘Emmanuel.’

This is the most important thing, the backdrop of all our celebrations – the fact that God has declared himself close to us and on our side.  He is so ‘for us’ that Paul asks the questions in Romans 8, who can possibly be against us?  No one is the resounding implication.

Of all the things about God’s relation to us little can better the knowledge that he is for us and not in opposition to us, against us, forever angry with us.  On the contrary Jesus was God’s way of saying I’m with you, I understand you, I love you and I have good plans for you.

God is with you when others may not be (and sometimes for good reason, we need to admit); God is for me when I’m not for me. God is for me and difficulties are no proof of opposition to us.  God is for you.

Merry Christmas – Happy ‘God is with us.’


More or Less

More or Less!

When ‘others’ fill our empty spaces we prioritize ‘things’ less.  Or, less is more when people populate our horizons.  A life, a heart filled with people that matter (or should matter, even if at times they don’t command it) will be a life that has less voracious need for things to fill the ‘gaps.’ Less, but not no need – that is asking too much.

A life lived alone acquires a peculiar fussiness that has elevated surroundings, setting, and house to a place they are not suited to, nor made for, nor we for them.  Things become their people, animals their family, a house their home.  But things aren’t people, animals for all their crossbred charm aren’t family (at least and certainly not reproducible family), and a house isn’t a home.  A home has a table, a fellowship, a dynamic only available with others in the mix, others we love, others who love us.

We have, sadly and inevitably, more single occupancy homes than ever before.  Units, apartments, semi’s, condo’s, flats are filled with people on their own.  Neighbors aren’t neighbors, occupants are unknown, surrounded but never more apart.  That this isn’t easily ameliorated doesn’t make it any the less tragic.

Some form of community is the only and reasonable alternative to the elevation of a prickly self-orientation that begins in the apartment – things are in their place, nothing is moved, spilled on, or occupied.  A welcome doesn’t feel like a welcome, a care must be taken, shoes removed and bodies gingerly eased on to lounges with an in-breathed anxiety.

To say to a person in these, all too common, circumstances that they love things more than people will be received very poorly, if at all.  But if logic had her way no other conclusion seems possible.  It is not an ‘either or love’ we are referring to, just a compounding tendency. Likewise you can’t say to people who are surrounded by others that they therefore love people to the exclusion of things.  It is likely they don’t always, if ever.

But the trend stands.  When we are responsible only for ourselves, even if only domestically, things will assume more importance to us because we are less distracted by ‘others.’  And when we are responsible for others it stands to reason that we will be less distracted about things.

People teach you the best things in life never were things, they were, they are, relationships, connection, community – people.

Alone you may have more but it is less.  Together you may have less but it is more.

More or less!

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