Happy holidays, everyone! Here’s a blog thought to go with your festive Christmas season.
I was listening to Amy Grant sing the song, “Grown up Christmas List” earlier. Don’t ask. I mean, I like Amy Grant. She brings back some great memories and she’s still rocking after all these years. But there’s a line in that particular cover song (by Linda Thompson Jenner, by the way) that kind of struck me. I’d never really listened to it before:
“What is this illusion called the innocence of youth? Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth.”
In this cynical, selfish age, the idea of youthful innocence isn’t cherished much. Oh, a lot of us pay a lot of lip service to the idea. But often our practiced lives show something different. The fact is, the small, humble, innocent things are the most significant. And while we might know it’s true in our heads, in our hearts, we don’t really feel it. It’s just such a different reality we live with.
That’s why I love Christmas. You get to be an optimistic little kid for a while and not have people laugh at you for being so stupid. (Okay, they’re probably still laughing, but they’re just jealous, right?) My generation of 20- and 30-somethings value cynicism and sarcasm and snide, intelligent satire. Some of us are completely messed up by the stuff and now can’t even listen to regular people unless they’re making fun of something or being ironic. It’s seriously insane. After a certain point with that stuff, I can feel a part of me dying inside from it.
But Christmas is the absence of snotty pretenses like that. It’s like getting to one of the stuffed shirts in the board room and pulling his pants down. Okay. Maybe it’s not quite that irreverent. But you know…it’s like going up and tickling him. Christmas is permission to be straight-up sentimental. To be blind to the usual conditions and complexities of relationships and viewpoints. You get to be idealistic and fanciful. And I think sometimes we feel we need to be given permission–sometimes we can get so encumbered, inhibited, and unable to express our sincere, pure hopes and dreams in the everyday worlds in which we live. That’s the way it is for me, at least. I’ll bet you aren’t unfamiliar with it either.
Don’t get me wrong. Reverence has its place. I should probably qualify last night’s blog a bit to say that was certainly stretching the limits in one direction. I definitely need to balance some of my extreme comments from time to time. But it just seems to me we tend to think of God’s holiness as something unattainable and far off, like it’s such a grandiose thing, when really, it’s humble and the furthest thing from ostentatious. We can do damage when we hold too high a view of God. He LOVES messy people, dirty people, people who don’t hold such a high view of Him, as though He’s removed and uninvolved off in Gloryland. Praise and deference can be just as, if not more meaningful, when you realize God is a humble God, infused in the fabric of tatted rags and mangy stray puppies.
So don’t let the season slip by without giving yourself permission to feel that all-over sensation of unconditional love at some point. And realize that the God who created the infinite and infintessimal considers you in your filthy humanity, worthy of His ineffable company and regard.
Spend some time there.