Counting down to Christmas… We know it will come and go like every other year. It won’t be perfect. Still we hope… What are you anticipating?
Cynics have sided with pessimism and all but given up on feeling. Maybe they’ve been hurt too many times. They label us as sentimentalists and cliché. We feel silly for getting sucked in. Who isn’t a sucker for a little schmaltz. Is it so absurd to hope?
Peacefulness. Innocence. Family. Romance. Childlikeness. Wonder. Nostalgia.
Our visions are enchanting. All of the details – whether it’s snow, winter flirting, or just getting past exams – fit in that list somewhere. Just the music can fill us with all kinds of emotions and expectations. But when our idealized pictures fall short – I still remember a bundled-up date at zoo lights, cool hat and scarf chosen on purpose, and the gifts I bought for a girl who wasn’t as into me as I was her – we feel absurd, let down, and even wounded. Though Christmas exposes our hearts, unless we’ve given up on it, we’ll surely do it again next year…
What if we’re really not so silly? What if stoic strength with all it’s toughness is really a liability? What if what we really long for is something so big, and so incredible, and so mysterious, that things like Christmas (and births, and weddings, and laughter, and singing with full lungs) are just pointers and clues? And what if the sinking disappointment we feel the day after Christmas (or when we return for another semester), when we’ve come back down to the real world, is yet another clue?
We long for transcendence, and we can’t create it on our own. The Bible says that eternity has been placed in our hearts. It’s as if we want to simultaneously return home and go some place we’ve never been before. We want heaven, something that can only be given to us, not made for ourselves. For this and so much more, we need a savior – a savior for our wounds and the wounds we’ve no doubt caused others while willing our own visions into existence. Trying to make our own transcendence and be our own savior is a betrayal – of ourselves, of others, and ultimately of the God who made us. But the betrayed God didn’t betray us. He sent us the Savior.
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23
Cynics reject hope and the God of hope.
What’s your back story? Are you a cynic without hope, a person swinging between hope and disappointment, or a person whose hopes will be met by a rescuing King?
Would you like to think about this more? What a great time to grab a friend and a peppermint mocha to explore your back stories.