Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What does Jesus want for Christmas? #6 - FAMILY!

     A peculiar wonder of the Thanks- giving-Christmas time zone is the way we get together, not as we usually do, with friends or neighbors of our own choosing, those who share our interests or are fun to be with – but with family.  Say the word family, and some faces light up, others stifle a grimace.  No matter the state of our relationships, we make that drive, we puzzle over what to give, we cook and eat with people we’ve quite literally known all our lives.  We stick with those we’re stuck with.
     And sometimes it’s hard, subterranean emotions surface, fully grown men revert to juvenile boyhood, and a puzzled shudder is all we can muster when we hear mom, dad, sister or uncle declare a political opinion.  How am I related to these people?  It must be God’s good humor, or something of a hazing.

     Or training in holiness.  We are in relationships we cannot escape; we know the worst about each other, but we have to deal with it, and we have no choice but to learn mercy, and humility.

     What Jesus wants for Christmas is for us to grow into the surprising, arduous holiness that just might evolve from these seasonal visits to those we cherish and adore, those whose minds have grown clouded and confused, those who’ve hurt and been hurt, the strangers who share our DNA but not much else.  They are your past, the big hidden truth about yourself. 

     And they are your future.  I love Judy Garland singing “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” in Meet Me in St. Louis – and its lyric which invites us (if we’re diligent, patient, and a bit lucky) into a more holy life:  “Faithful friends who are dear to us, gather near to us once more… Through the years we all will be together.”  Of that we can be certain; I suspect Jesus ordained things to be just this way for us.