The other day I was reading an article in the NZ media outlet, Stuff.
It was an opinion piece that someone (possibly not even from NZ, I didn’t pay that much attention) had written about why they had not gotten married.
Anyway, the author of the piece went on to say that she did not see any point in marriage because 1) who cares about declaring something in front of the state and God when it is between you and the person you’re with (especially when you hate the state and don’t believe in God) 2) she did not want to change her surname and 3) children are a better bond than a certificate anyway.
What really stuck out to me in the article were not the three really silly reasons she provided for not wanting to get married (because they really were silly reasons)
What really stuck out to me in the article was the fact that the woman concluded that what was wonderful about her relationship over marriage was that rather than staying in something because she was bound to a contractual agreement made, instead she was in the relationship because you ‘want’ to be.
Because the ‘feeling’ is there.
Reading this actually left me feeling pretty heartbroken. Not just for the woman who wrote the piece, but because her opinion on marriage is probably quite representative of a lot of people out there.
That you only stay in something as long as you want to.
As long as the feeling is there.
No commitment to try, to work, to be better when you realize you need to be better.
Just of the moment, while the wind is going the right way, and all conditions are perfect affection.
An affection that doesn’t ask anything of you, it doesn’t hold you to a need to change or compromise.
This article left me heartbroken because it illustrated that there is a whole chunk of people out there, young, old, men, women, children… who have no concept of unconditional love.
Of love that exists beyond the realm of temporary desire, and feeling.
Of a love that swears to fight hard, and hold you steady.
How genuinely saddening is that?
I was thinking about Christmas last night, because A) I was at the mall and B) Christmas is on Sunday.
I adore Christmas (can you tell??) not just for the smell of tinsel, and ginger bread cookies, and presents, and hanging out with family and the holidays.
But because Christmas to me is absolutely revolutionary.
See this year I’ve somehow found myself listening to Christmas carols in a new way.
Singing ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ at church the other night, I was filled with this new energy as I considered the words.
‘Sing all citizens oh heaven above’ – how awesome is that, the sky splitting wide with worship that the God of creation had come down?
‘Word of the father, now in flesh appearing’ – actually think about that thought in its fullness. The word which spoke creation to be made incarnate.
Silent Night came on the radio as I was driving over to my parents and again the lyrics really got under my skin.
‘Glories stream from heaven afar’ – but the night Christ was born that distance wasn’t so far anyway.
‘With the dawn of redeeming grace’ – at long last. You only have to consider the stories that precede Christ’s birth in the bible to see that the world was dark and decaying and Christ, born as a humble child came to restore it back.
I have experienced a new wonder in the nativity story through hearing carols I had been super over familiar with and it has been awesome.
The thing is, beyond everything that Christmas has become (which are all mostly great things) Christmas reduced down in its very core is something truly beautiful.
The story of a fractured world, made new again by the birth of a child that seemed small and insignificant, but meant everything.
It is book one of this three book saga of all evilness and badness in the world being overthrown. (The second being Easter and the third being the Return of Christ)
Some people I think really need that hope this time of year.
I understand that people are often at different places with God. They are mad at him, blame him, feel like he isn’t listening, or speaking, they might look at the idea of belief in God and scoff because in today’s stark reality it seems childish to believe in him.
The truth is that Jesus Christ is a historical truth (birth, death and resurrection) and you only need speak to the people who have had radically transformed lives even today to understand that he is active in our world despite how things seem around us.
Because He is that unfillable, unconditional love.
A love that came into the world that was fading out, in pieces, ruined by its own desires and pursuits. A love that was willing to take the full weight of all sin and death for the guilty. A love that was willing to fight, to try, to care beyond convenience.
Jesus is the true love, in this world where the majority of people cannot even fathom an unconditional love as they are taught to only stay in relationship, or care for something, or fight for something while it’s easy.
What is truly wonderful about Christmas is that despite the chaos of our lives, or how busy or bad a year you’ve had, or what your current situation is now – whether it is awesome, or less than awesome – Jesus the Christ Child came to save you.
Every day, in our own way, we need saving, and Christmas is that reminder that wrapped in cloth in a stable, our savior came.