it's christmas eve morning. everyone is still asleep, and i am sitting at dad's computer with a perfect cup of starbuck's ethiopia sidamo blend. all is well.

as a rule, the christmas season makes me reflective, and this one is no different. given the fact that i have watched the new version of 'miracle on 34th street' more times than i can count, the last time being just a week ago, one of the lines that usually strikes me, struck me again. richard attenborough, [santa claus], explaining why his role as the guy in red is important, says, "I'm a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives." hmmm.

throughout this past week, i have been painfuly aware of the power of these selfish & hateful tendancies in my life, and how much control they have. and while i am not ashamed to admit that a small part of me still believes in santa claus, i know that nothing he, or his symbolic power can do can ever rid me of all that is dark inside, and make me deserving of anything more than a lump of coal.

enter Jesus. Emmanuel. God with us. Not someone far away who drops in once a year, bringing down a judgement on whether we've been good or bad and rewarding us accordingly, but God with us...seeing the small good we do, but more importantly, seeing all that is in us, including the dark, hateful, selfish parts, and who chooses to love us anyway. Chooses to save us from our worst enemy: ourselves. Who, all those years ago, could look ahead to his death, and beyond through all of history up to this moment, and determine that in spite of all the bad, horrible things that lay between his birth and here, that nothing is so horrible, in our world or in us that God would change his mind and abort the plan.

o come, o come Emmanuel.


a cage

"What do you fear, my lady?"
"A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire."
(The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers)

today a friend of mine afforded me a rare glimpse of my life, as seen through his eyes, and part of what was revealed surprised me.

i am afraid. i don't want to be, and i don't want to admit it, but i am afraid. as i sat there listening to him, this quote from LOTR came to me, and i realized that if i don't move beyond this, and face down the dragon which daunts me, i will meet the end of my life with the realization that the cage that held me back was my own doing.

“Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.” ~Raymond Lindquist



a recent conversation with someone prompted me to remember this blessing given to Henri Nouwen by his spiritual mentor:

May all your expectations be frustrated.
May all your plans be thwarted.
May all your desires be withered into nothingness.
That you may experience the powerlessness and the poverty of a child and sing and dance in the love of God the Father, the Son and the Spirit.
i'm not exactly sure how i would accept such a blessing, should it come my way. granted, the payoff from all the frustration, thwarting & whithering would be worth it. but my tendency is to run away from all that is hard and sucky. i desire growth, and yet balk at the things that would produce what i want.
may i have the courage to live...regardless of what each day brings.

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