Wednesday, December 28, 2011

the best has come, and is yet to come.

The holiday season. 
A time of remembering and nostalgia. 
Warm drinks and cold noses. 
A time to be around those you love (and kooky family members). 
A time that is marked by merriment and joy. 
A time that, unfortunately, is also often chaotic and stressful and ‘busy’. 
A time where people are distracted when they drive and cut-throat about parking spaces 
and just grumpy & tired. 
A time where when things go awry, they can seem dramatically more disappointing than normal 
(or than they really are). 
Last week, after going through emissions 5 times, to my mechanic 3, to the state department of air quality control and STILL needing an extension to register my car at the DMV, I came home to the saddest thing I’ve ever gotten in the mail. I decided to go for a run, and after my iPod stopped working 47 seconds in, and it started to rain, I muttered in my head, “welp- merry christmas to me.” 
As I kept running I started thinking about that: the idea of Christmas, and wishing one another a ‘Merry Christmas’. Since I was a little kid, my favourite story to read in all the bible has always been the Christmas story.

{Fear not and behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, He is Christ the Lord.}  Luke 2:10

And it wasn’t some epiphany more than a remembering in that moment: that this is exactly the joy of Christmas. These shitty weeks of sad things and hard moments that leave you with limited choices but to laugh, are what hold the ‘good news of great joy that will be for all people’. The angel and heavenly hosts didn’t come to the perfect ‘Martha Stewart’ house full of DIYed projects adorning every nook, presents perfectly wrapped (not forgetting anyone) under the tree, mulling spices over the stove, fire in the fireplace and hot cocoa in cute matching mugs for everyone. They didn’t Instagram the Star of Bethlehem for all to see. They came to sheep herders in the middle of a field, in the middle of the night, to announce the greatest gift in the world had been born in a dirty barn to a couple of kids that had been shamed for an illegitimate pregnancy.

The ‘merriment’ of Christmas is for the hungry, for the tired and broken. For those eagerly waiting on good news, grasping at the hope that the best is yet to come. It is the deep joy that comes from knowing that something is stirring. That something has been birthed in a season of impossibility; surrounded by lack of understanding.

Whenever I try to explain to someone what I do for a living, people often ask ‘how I handle it’. They say things like, “Don’t you just get so sad? How can you do that and still have anything left? After the stuff that you deal with every day, how can you still believe that there is good in the world, that there is hope for people to be better? Don’t you ever just want to give up?” My answer is yes. Yes to everything. Yes it’s hard. I have seen the face of evil and the depths of hell in people. I can feel the cold and shiver that comes from knowing that you are in the presence of darkness. But in those very same people, I can see the hope of heaven. In the face of little children who have suffered horrible tortures at the hands of their abusers, I see love. (They are resilient). In the abusers and child molesters and drug dealers, I see people that would do better if they knew how. I see people who never learned how to be good, who were abused too, who are in need of the reminder that they can be different. That every day, is one more day to keep trying.  That the good news of great joy will be for ALL people. I love that I get the privilege to work in my current job. That I am reminded daily of my own brokenness, and my own hope. That I am surrounded by raw humanity, myself included; by the tragedies of life that provide a need for joy. A yearning for it.

Today, I remember. And I’m grateful.  
May there be things that remind you too.

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