Is it Christmas yet?!?!
The day we got our tree, our 5-year old boy Dean screamed…
“And tomorrow is Christmas!”
“No, sorry, buddy, Christmas is still 3 weeks away.”
But isn’t that like a 5-year old? Full of hope, expectation, joy…and unbridled passion. He shoots out of bed at 6 o’clock in the morning without the need of an alarm (or caffeine) and with no reason whatsoever other than to play, run, build, and laugh.
And while it’s fun to be around such joy, somewhere deep down inside, it also makes me sad. And I think I know why…
Somewhere Along the Way, Something Got Lost.
Let me rephrase that…
Somewhere Along the Way, Something Got Stolen.
The other day my 48-year-old friend mentioned the fact that neither of us had the passion for Christ that we did when we met at 17 and 24. That question plagued me. Then I realized that the reason I don’t have the passion I did when I was 17 was because…
And along with that came betrayal, loss, sleepless nights, unfulfilled expectations, and the frustrating un-ending battle to make ends meet (and then give most of it to the government).
Friends betray you.
Co-workers forget you.
Business partners turn against you.
Churches collapse on you.
Religious leaders (even the really strong ones) fail you.
And then there is the family…the place of support, peace, and rest that all too often becomes the place of dysfunction, pain, and regret.
Any wonder why it’s hard to get out of bed in the morning?
Any wonder why addiction (or just resignation) slip in?
Any wonder why it’s so hard to live with HOPE?
Any wonder why God has been replaced by Santa Claus…so far away in his North Pole…and really not all that interested in the details of you life…expect for maybe one night a year…and on that night, just for cookies?
You see, somewhere along the way, I started taking all of the pain and blaming it on God. And so instead of running to him for refuge, I began clinging to a desperate cynicism along with the deep agreement that God will never come through…and that he never does.
And it was at that exact moment that I completely lost Christmas.
Because Christmas is supposed to be the ULTIMATE reminder that despite your fears, doubts, and cynicism, God comes. He always comes.
Think about it. One cold night in Israel (after nearly 400 years of silence), God broke through the darkness to tell some shivering shepherds that he had some really, really good news. That they could forget a life of loss and regret and come see a baby that would change all that.
Christmas came as a reminder that while everyone may leave or let you down, God never, ever will.
Like ever, ever.
So whatever you do with your heart this year; whatever layers of distrust and doubt may have accumulated, whatever has hurt the deepest and cost the dearest, the last thing you should do is to lay all that blame on God.
He’s the only one who has never failed you…and he never will. That little baby in Bethlehem was sent to remind you.
Oh…and the really good news?
It’s at that exact moment – that moment when all else has failed, but you still hold to God that he comes in the night to offer the joy of a 5-year old on Christmas morning.
And THAT is what I am asking for this Christmas.