Saturday, December 25, 2004

where are you, Christmas?

i awoke this morning feeling refreshed, even after pitifully few hours of sleep; we'll see how long this awake-ness lasts. last night was a melange of joy and frustration. michael and i drove down to monty county, visited with some friends of ours and their six-month-old baby - or really, i should say, the friends' parents, because i got cornered into this question-and-answer session about homeschooling for an hour and a half before we just conveniently 'had' to go. oh well.

then, we went to michael's parents' house where the whole crew had gathered and children were just getting wound up for the evening. we wolfed down a quickie dinner so that michael and i could jet back out the door and get him to his first church service of the evening (he was playing with a brass quintet). since i had a few hours, i got to see my dear naomi who has been making her home of late on the western side of the country. we had some overly sweet coffee and then hung out with the last minute drugstore shoppers and ramshackle christmas eve crew as i wandered the aisles looking for q-tips at cvs. needless to say, it was slim pickins up in there and i was counting my blessings that i do not work in retail - this time of year or any other. we parted ways and i headed back to the halls' place, only to visit for another half hour before we had to leave for church again. i was looking forward to the service, at least, although i did note at the outset that the program looked a bit long. no matter i thought to myself. the first service only took an hour. yeah, well news flash, folks. apparently, pastor man got a bit maudlin and long-winded sometime between 9 and 11, because he droned on and on and on in such that we didn't get out of there until 12:45!!!

suffice it to say that i didn't make it to my warm little apartment until an hour later, only to discover (upon immediately received phone call) that michael's hubcaps had been stolen sometime during the course of the evening. great.

now, it would be tempting to look at all of the above and think yeah, that's pretty much a less than ideal way to spend Christmas eve (except the dear friends part). isn't it supposed to be about cookie-baking and carol-singing and making of merry? there's some christmas song whose lyrics read as follows:

where are you, Christmas?
why can't i find you?
why have you gone away?
where is the laughter
you used to bring me?
why can't i hear music play?

my world is changing;
i'm rearranging.
does that mean Christmas changes too?

where are you, Christmas?
do you remember
the one you used to know?
i'm not the same one;
see what the time's done.
is that why you have let me go?

sure, i suppose that if, to you, christmas were only this flitting emotion that could come and go with the sounds of paper ripping and the twinkling of tinsel and bells and the 'ho-ho-ho' of santa at the mall, then yeah, it would suck more than anything to feel 'christmas' slipping through your fingers if you had to spend it alone today, or if you didn't have money for presents, or if things just weren't going all right.

but here's the truth: Christmas has nothing to do with any of that, really. it's about a love so amazing, so divine, coming down to earth in the form of something so humble, so unrecognizable that it nearly slipped before us, unnoticed...and yet it rocked the world with such force that people still can't seem to stop talking about, arguing about it, fighting for it, dying for it, living for it. and that something - that baby - was and is the light of the world, come to save us from darkness...come to save us from ourselves.

so i won't be asking any questions of Christmas today, because i know where He and every day. He will not let us go. He is here with us. Emmanuel. the Risen Lord. the Christ. and today, again, i worship Him. He has not changed. i have. i have, because of Him.

merry Christmas.

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