Saturday, October 20, 2007
My Nightmare before Christmas
for many, church services come but twice a year
another endured holiday tradition
like bad fruitcake or fake smiles at the office parties
a mere spectacle to point out
like pretty frost on the windows
or a drive-through light show in one of those rich neighborhoods
where everyone battles to outdo the Joneses
armed with tangled bombs, inflated snowmen the size of tanks
and stapleguns poised and ready
tis the season for blind tradition
Lord, we don't want to be "that cool church"
we don't want them to ooh and ahh
over great singers, rockin' guitar solos in Christmas carols,
impressive speakers,and eye candy lighting effects,
we want them to meet You and fall into Your arms forever changed.
but as we plan the Christmas services this year
I keep having this nightmare
that they will come carrying pretty packages of pain
vibrant velvety ribbons around the weight of emptiness
with plastered on smiles that give their children hope
but only last until the parking lot
the frightening thought that they come will all that
and refuse to make the simple, no-receipt-required exchange
I hold my breath and pray against the tragedy
the horrific scene that they will leave
unchanged, unmoved, unaffected
by what You offer them
But this year will be different.
I will not brace myself for the inevitable
like sliding on black ice toward a tree
I will not let patterns of the past predict the future
like the ever-spinning tick-tick second hand
I will not let my tiny squeek of faith
interrupt Your grand announcement
I will not trust in car crashes, second hands, or my own fears
No more nightmares--
the hero of the pageantry,
the calendar creator
and the giver of the one and only
perfect Christmas gift.
"As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, 'Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice."
But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."
When I am afraid, I will trust in you.