Thursday, December 23, 2010

Past, Present, Yet to Come

Christmas past forms us. Christmas present defines us. Christmas yet to come promises us a hope and a future.

The Spirit of Christmas Past came to Scrooge for his welfare; his redemption. The Spirit of Christmas Present showed Scrooge joy within the human heart. The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come issued a warning to follow the admonition given by the Past to "Take Heed."

Isn't it a beautiful gift to know that the shadows of what might be can be altered by our real actions of the present? In spite of the past, Christmas is always a gift for each day.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Blues

I should be used to it by now, but I'm not. Perhaps being rejected by my own father is something I wont ever really overcome. I almost wish he would truly ignore me rather than send a token Santa card signed "Dad and Pam."  No other words. No wishes for happiness, much less "I'm proud of you" or "I love you."  When that boxed card shows up it casts a pall over my whole day. It's not even a hand-picked card from a WalMart display. It comes in a box of 20 cards and 21 envelopes. The box probably cost $5. Less if it was purchased after the holidays last year. Frankly, I'm pretty sure he doesn't even sign it.

It's not that I want gifts--not for me or for my kids.  He hasn't remembered my birthday in years. I'm okay with that (as much as I can be) because he doesn't even try. But once a year, at Christmas, this ridiculous card comes and unsettles me.

I try---I call on Father's Day (when I can find a number), his birthday, and Thanksgiving. The last call I made lasted all of two or three minutes. He hung up--better things to do. So, tonight, I'm wrapping his gift for Christmas and preparing to mail it. I'm having a hard time feeling joy in it. 

All I feel is hurt. Profoundly hurt.

I did everything I was supposed to do. I went to college, got married, had kids (in that order.) I got good grades. I work hard. I volunteer. I help. I teach. I support my children's dreams. I stayed in church.  Logically, I know that I didn't do anything to deserve his rejection. But there it is. He has rejected me--and my family.

And every Christmas a winking Santa card reminds me of how "unspecial" I am to him.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Compass Points

True North. A compass is designed to point to the magnetic north of the earth, making navigation safe and reasonably reliable. But True North is different. True North cannot be swayed by electromagnetic energy or solar flares or shifts in subterrenean magnetic fields. True North is one place. Static. Stationary. Stable.

When true north is the basis for navigation, it is bound to be more reliable than magnetic north because of its absolute location. Finding true north, however, is more difficult than using a simple compass, and requires newer technology and greater skill.

In a sense, true north is an analogy to Truth. Most people in this world are satisfed with magnetic north because, in most cases, it is sufficient to the task at hand. But by placing faith in a changable direction, ultimately those who choose this route will miss the mark of the actual destination. So it is with heaven. There is a way that seems right: do good things, treat others well, care for the environment, take care of widows and orphans...and hundreds of other worthwhile and beneficial things. However, ultimately this way misses the mark of True North: relationship with God for eternity. True North can only be arrived at one way. True North requires a specific element. While all the earthly "magnetic north" elements are good things, they are not the Perfect thing.

It is Christmastime, and this season reminds those who listen that True North made itself visible in the form of a baby, born to a virgin, heralded by angels, shepherds, kings, and commoners. He grew up fully human, yet fully Deity. He was perfect, not only in action, but in motivation, thought, philosophy, wisdom, and anything of merit. By cruel death and miraculous resurrection, He laid the path for all to reach True North.

To reach True North is the pinnacle of a life. To meet True North is an experience of eternity. There is no shifting, no variation, and no close approximations to True North. It is--and HE is--the one True North.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010