I’m in a relationship.
That’s what it’s all about, you know.
The Christmas story? It starts out, “In the beginning, God …” You could stop there and pretty much have a handle on everything. But it continues, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God …. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Why? Why would The Creator do that? He told us. “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. … Trust in God; trust also in Me … If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way— I AM the way.” (John 3, 10, 14)
That’s not a creed. It’s no command. Nobody’s coerced yet everybody’s invited. The only exclusions are self-imposed because what God’s been after all along is for Him and I to be in a relationship with one another.
Sure, He has His expectations. Who has a better right to set the bar so high that none of us can reach and clear it without His guidance and help?
The 9-year old kept pestering his dad to give him some ‘big-boy’ jobs to do. Wisely, his dad made it a teaching moment. His eager little boy in tow, the dad headed out into the back yard, stopping before a boulder half-buried in the lawn.
“See that big rock?”
“Uh-hunh,” the little guy nodded.
“Pry that up out of that hole and we’ll make the little pond you’ve been wanting to build where it was. As long as you’re careful, you can use any of my garden tools from the garage.”
“REALLY?” Scampering off, he excitedly ran in the garage to begin his Great Adventure. Come on–what boy could ev-er NOT mess with his dad’s tools?
Dad calmly went back to his reading, occasionally observing his son’s efforts through the window. Shovel … pickax … crowbar … With each tool, the boy went after the task with new but reduced fervor; he was getting frustrated. Finally he’d reached the end of his tether to patience. The back screen door slammed, and the boy skidded to a stop before his dad’s chair. His face was dirt- and sweat-streaked as only a 9-year-old can pull off.
“DAD? I can’t do it.”
“Did you try everything?”
“Everything. Nothing works. I tried using ALL your tools, and I couldn’t DO it. I tried EVERYthing!” The little guy was embarrassed and hung his head.
“Come on, son. Let’s go look at it together.” They did.
“And you tried everything?” Wiping his nose and furious at his tears, the boy vigorously nodded.
“Are you sure?”
“Uh-hunh. (slurgk . . .)”
“You didn’t try everything.” The little guy stared up at his dad, knowing he’d given it his best but knowing better than to argue.
Kneeling beside his son and putting a hand on his shoulder, he gently said, “You never asked me to help you.”
The boy’s trembling lip and brimming eyes showed his shame. Holding his own tears back, the dad clapped his son on the back and said, “C’mon, man. Let’s kick this pig!”
And they did. Together. It was a lesson the boy never forgot.
Relationship. You. God. Together.
That’s what the Christmas thing’s all about. It’s what the entire Gospel story is about. There’s nothing dusty and dry and boring and stuffy about it. It’s about an entire lifetime of walking with God through all of its experiences – then the realization that, as Robert Schuler once said, this life is the on-ramp to Eternity.
So, I’m curious. Facebook is smeared thick with people barely able to restrain themselves until they can blare out the fateful words on their page: “In a relationship.” Personally? I think way too many of us put way too much on Facebook, very little of which is necessary–and even less of which is anyone else’s business.
I have to wonder: what if we all were as focused on being in a relationship with the Almighty? What if we got as excited and wanted everyone to know about it then?
Might Christmas be a bit more special, being in a relationship with the One who made everything and everyone?
© D. Dean Boone, December 2014