Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Here's A Quarter...

Before I get this trainwreck a rollin', I just wanted to give a little disclaimer. This post is not at all what it sounds like from the first few paragraphs. Read it all the way to the end.

A song that has been playing through my mind a lot lately (at least parts of the chorus) is Travis Tritt's hit from like 1992 or 1993, "Here's A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)." Specifically the lines, "Well, here's a quarter, call someone who cares/Call someone who'll listen, or might give a damn" have struck me. It has been pretty easy for me to feel like no one really does. It's nice of y'all to come around and comment or email, but it goes back to the feelings of isolation I struggle with. I don't begrudge my elife or the precious people who are the make-up of it. I'd just like to have a real life too. Man can not live by blogging and video games alone. But when you go to church on Sunday and feel about as lonely as you are (and sometimes lonelier) all week sitting alone in a dark room, it is pretty easy to feel that way. It isn't like I'm a newby, either. I've been a part of that church and involved in a couple of its ministries for significant periods for over a year and a half. I see plenty of people who have some sort of an inside track to getting "in" and being a part of a group of friends that regularly gets together for fellow ship. It makes me think of the Radiohead song "Creep" (circa 1992 or 1993), "I want you to notice/when I'm not around/You're so very special/I wish I was special/But I'm a creep/I'm a weirdo/What the hell am I doing here?/I don't belong here." So many days I feel that way. I wonder if I fell off the face of the earth, if they would notice. Truth be told, aside from a genuine, heart-felt expression of sympathy and compassion from my pastor on Sunday morning, I'm not sure.

But it is for this very purpose that we celebrate the birth of the Christchild. God enthroned in glory on high, with legions of angels surrounding Him to serve Him, constantly proclaiming his holiness, stepped out of that into a filthy little stable to be put in dirty swaddling cloth and laid in hay soaked in camel and horse drool. We fail to grasp the significance of that most of the time, and I think this gets over-shadowed by many preachers who superimpose what we celebrate each Easter on Christmas. Give us a moment to bask in the wonder of the Incarnation, itself! God, in flesh, came down to sympathize with us. The inception of this was a miraculous event beyond human comprehension. Such magic we don't experience or understand, for the most part, ever.

It is for this very reason that I hate the idea of never allowing children to believe that Santa is real. It is a "shadow" as it were, of how we should think and feel about the Gospel story, especially the beginning of it. We tell our children to "get real" and "take a reality check" when it comes to the fantasy and make-believe worlds they live in as they grow older, which makes them look at the world through the lens of the harsh realities of what they experience based on touch, taste, sight, feel. Jesus told us that we have to have the faith of a child to enter the Kingdom. How are you doing on that?

That is why I will always see Santa as a friend of Christmas. I do enjoy seeing pictures of him kneeling at the manger, as it makes for an emotionally powerful image. But, I like the images of him guiding his reindeer through the snowy night, or at the North Pole overseeing his workshop. This magic that we feel this season reminds us "how" to look back at the manger in Bethlehem. I believe in Santa today more than I ever have before, and that enables me to have even greater faith in Christ.

Before you all call me a freak, Martin Luther (you know, that great Reformer dude) believed in fairy peoples such as elves, sprites, gnomes, and all the like. He wrote that they most certainly existed in the deep forests of Germany, beyond where most people would tread. Call me a fool, fine, but you will have to get through Martin Luther to get to me.

It is this very magic that enables a deeper faith I am in desperate need of. God showed his care for mankind when He stepped out of heaven into our world, but what if you don't know what that looks like because you have no one caring for you as an example? This is my daily dilemma. You need greater faith to just trust in God and be grateful for this thing that you don't understand. That's where I am right now. And it is with this deeper faith that I can be grateful and say thanks to God for this thing that remains a great mystery to me. It is this deeper faith that lifts my spirits and gives me hope right now. And I will cling to this and trust Him.

So, do I believe in Santa? I think so, and I don't think that is such a bad thing. Do you believe in Santa?


Looney Mom said...

Oh my, Jared. My heart hurts when you are feeling like this. I can't imagine what it's like feeling so isolated, I guess because sometimes I wish I could be isolated from this insane life of mine! We're on opposite sides of the coin.

I wish you guys could move over to NM and go to church with us. How cool would that be? Just a thought. You would have friends for sure! And my kids would drive you nuts. Oh well.

On Santa; I do believe in him for all the same reasons you do. I totally get what you're saying. We need that level of fantasy. Reality if far too scary to even think that that's all there is!

Brother, I hope you feel better soon. And I'm serious if you ever decide on relocating!

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I was raised Catholic and went to religion classes and all that. There wasn't a big thing about Santa being real or not real or how beliving in him was wrong. I think that more or less the idea of Santa was accepted and I think he even made an appearance at the Christmas Eve masses (though I don't really remember). However, at the same time we were all taught the story about St. Nicholas, the real Santa...so I suppose it could be a little bit confusing for a child that still believe in Santa.

I knew there wasn't a "real" Santa before I started religion classes though. When I was five I demanded my parents to tell me the truth about Santa. It was very matter of fact, but I don't think that knowing the truth took the magic out of Christmas until I reached my teen years.

Kathy Brown said...

Hey, Jared!

Thanks for all of your encouragement and your comments. I gather it was a little chilly there over the past couple of days. It is rather warm here today. Already 37 F...very unusual.

I am determined to see Polar Express this year since you brought it up. I had never heard of it.

I love this piece on Santa - you know I am in agreement with it, of course.

You are probably already someone's "Secret Santa", but if not, go for it.

Take care, God Bless you.