Christmas Thoughts … follow up to Christmas List

These are my thoughts this Christmas, as everyone around me celebrates the holiday. My post is grounded in the Christian faith, and cites biblical passages. My aim is not to convert or preach or even advise. My goal is to reach out across the cyber divide to others, like myself, who may need to join hearts and minds with others who are struggling this holiday. We may seem alone, but we are not alone.

It’s Christmas morning, and I haven’t slept well.

Since last night, I’ve been thinking about my last post, about Christmas day for those of us who really are hurting, and have good reasons to hurt at that.

Between grief and injustice, I’m pretty much done in this year. Three years ago I had a family of six … then five … then four … now it’s just me and my husband, everyone else taken by death or illness or, well, just taken.

My pastor had asked me to read as part of Christmas Eve service. Being the smarter-than-she-seems cookie that she is, she probably reckoned that a reading was a sure-fire way to get a spotlight-loving ham like me into church. One sentence in particular almost choked me up, right in front of about a hundred people:

John 1:5: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 

I can’t tell you how much I hope that’s true.

As the service last night progressed through readings, carols and services, I asked myself what I’d write today; being Christmas, I thought that I should write something.

I thought about all the groups of people I mentioned in my last post, and a few I’d forgotten: the sick whose future is unsure, the sick for whom each day is a new fresh hell of physical pain, those people so lost in mental problems they cannot see their way out, the utterly destitute poor for whom Christmas depends on charity.

As I listened I started to ask myself: what would Jesus say if to us if He was with us, in the flesh, right now? Honestly, what I really wanted to know was, what the bleep would Jesus say to me?

I followed up on this just now by googling — and googling — until I found just the right site for information on what’s known as the Q Source. I won’t burden you with the historical and textual issues, which, from what I’ve read, are still up for debate. Suffice to say that the Q Source is considered one of two distinct sources of Christ’s teachings. There’s more to it than that, but for our purposes, the Q Source is something you can google to find a compilation of some of Jesus’s teachings according to the traditional Bible.[1]

I came across a few that were of particular interest to me, and people in my situation.[2] However, my heart and my brain kept pulling me back to my main question: what would Jesus say to me and all of us who spent a portion of Christmas Eve cursing the day we were born, asking God why would He ever let this kind of $4!+ happen to us if He loves us … all of us right down to that blasted little sparrow?

I don’t mean something we’d hear in meditation, or through prayer. I mean if Christ had a cup of coffee in His hand (cream and two sugars) and was sitting on the dirty, wet sidewalk in a dark alley right next to us – because that’s where many of us feel like we are right now. What on earth would He say?

No matter how much I read, or how much I turned it over in my mind, I got this:

“Hold on. I’m sorry this happened to you. You deserved better. I will do everything to help you.”

In reading the Q texts and searching the NIV, did I find any scriptural support for my fantasy? I think so.  I found numerous accounts of “take heart,” and “do not be afraid.”

Better yet, I was reminded that Christ didn’t just give lip service to the sick and the poor, according to the Gospels — the way our culture does today. Jesus went in and did something about it.  He made it better. So, I have no doubt, if Jesus was with me right now in the flesh, somehow, some way, things would be fixed. Maybe the comforting words would just go without saying, but the comfort would be there. Did I say comfort? Not just comfort, not just consolation, but resolution.

Christ didn’t help people get used to being blind, or deaf or lame. He didn’t convince them it wasn’t that bad or offer coping strategies or motivational posters with cute kitten pics. He solved the flippin’ problems. He solved the problem because our problems weren’t trivial or subjective. The miracle was not that the afflicted just stood up and said oh, well, you know, this isn’t so bad. I was just being a whiner. The miracle was that they weren’t afflicted anymore.

Once the problem was solved, He had a few words for anybody who made the problem, or just made it worse. He had a few choice words for people who didn’t do anything at all.

That was Christ’s form of comfort: fixing our problems then telling the rest of the world to get on the ball and start fixing the problems too. Resolution and advocacy.

That’s what we all need and want. Unfortunately, we live in a different time and place. So why isn’t Christ just waving His Magic Wand from Up There and making it all better for us, now? I believe it’s because for the last 2015 years, that Making It Better job was supposed to be our job (and that means e v e r y b o d y from your next door neighbor to Donald Trump[3]).

This has always been my favorite theme in the New Testament: the passionate call for accountability for all members of humanity when it comes to the conditions of our fellow human beings. For all we like to talk about the mission of “peace,” Jesus did not hold back, and that peace was not unconditional.[4]   In Mark 11:15-18 and Matthew 21:12, Jesus wasn’t really practicing subtle diplomacy at the temple; in fact, He pretty much put it all out there; in John 2:15, Jesus drove the vendors out with a homemade whip.

Jesus was the first one to call out the unjust, the users, exploiters and general creators of chaos and injustice and mayhem. I have no doubt Jesus would Skype a few of the Captains Chaos I’ve known this year to let them know just what was what.

However, none of those things are happening now. Again, that job was left to everyone a while back, but it looks like once the Boss went back to HQ, few people showed up for work the next day.

Hence …

My husband’s asleep, I’m downstairs, there’s no one for Santa Claus to visit this year and my mother, my best friend, is long gone just when I need her the most.

Yet, through my tears and my grief and my doubt and my general rage at the universe, and that includes God right now, I hear something small and soft and I hope that it’s not just my writer’s imagination when I hear: “Hold on. I know it’s bad. You don’t deserve this. I will do everything I can to help you.”

So, boys and girls, that’s what I’ve got for you this year. The hopeful speculation that somewhere beyond the physical, the rational, and definitely beyond the human, our pain and our frustration is known. On this one thing I hope with all my life my beloved Einstein was wrong. Whatever our pain, we do not deserve this. No one can promise us solutions, so I won’t try. We’ve all seen evil win too many times to be certain that some last-minute deus ex machina will bail us out. In the grander scheme of things, yes, good usually triumphs evil. But will Good triumph in time for each of us? Maybe, but let’s face it, maybe not.

But we’ve got to hold on to that maybe. And when that slips through our spiritual fingers, let’s hold on to the fact that we are important, our pain is important.

If I can include a personal note, for Tarzan Boy, Nugget and Abikins, I would only want to say this to them this Christmas: “Hold on. I know this is bad. We didn’t deserve this. I’m doing everything I can. Know the truth written on your heart. Each of you has a special gift of brilliance to get you all through this. You are never more than a split-second from my heart. I love you.”

[1] Subsequent texts discovered  in the 20th century, specifically Gnostic, offer additional texts attributed to Jesus. At this time, we’re in a discussion about comfort, not theology or biblical history, so I’m forgoing anything new.

[2] John 12:2-3 Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.   Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops.

[3] Who may be failing. I don’t pretend to know the mind of God, but I’m thinking … you know … DT may not be living up to the stated job description of Member of Humanity.

[4] Matthew 10:34: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”


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