Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Just Don't Get Too Involved

We have arrived, once again, at these meaningful weeks that mark the end of the calendar year and the beginning of the liturgical year. For many of us, its a season of tensions, where different facets of our lives come together and jostle with one another.

We are preparing for the celebration of the mystery of the incarnation, of God taking our human nature and being born of the Virgin Mary. Of course, in the "bad-old-world-out-there" its time for the annual celebration lights and decorations and family and "the spirit of giving" and songs and eggnog and, especially, stuff! 

We Christians of course are not like that! We remember The True Meaning Of Christmas. We don't start celebrating before Christmas (well, not too much...). We observe Advent (kind of). We decorate first and above all with the Nativity scene (ours is made in China).

We Janaros put an Advent wreath on the table, with candles (and we have to watch the girls to make sure no one's hair catches on fire).

We Janaros actually have a lot going on in this season of preparation. Teresa's birthday, December 6. Agnese's birthday, December 21. (Mine is after the New Year.) This means family celebrations and birthday parties too. Also--even though we're not tainted by the Materialistic and Consumerist Culture--we still have to do some shopping. In other words, we want some stuff. But not too much stuff; we wouldn't know where to put it.

We also try to observe this as a penitential season. (Which means...what did we decide to do? Oh, we still have to think about that.)

Its Advent! Christmas is coming! Christ is coming!

God is coming.

Uh oh....

People used to ask Jesus, "what must I do to be saved?" I find myself saying the same thing. For me it means, "God, You are the Lord of all, and *wow* here You are, so...heh...I hope we some kind of a deal...?"

I shouldn't be surprised that people want to dodge the whole "incarnation" thing. Really, its a bit overwhelming. I'm usually overwhelmed by it, insofar as I take it seriously. I feel like saying:

"Dear God, I want to know You and obey You. I certainly don't want You to be mad at me. And I know that I'm all messed up (but don't forget, this whole 'freedom' schtick was Your idea--You never asked me; I probably would have been fine if You had made me as a rock). 
"Can't You just 'fix' me? Just do it, like, from up there
"Oh, and give me a 'How To' manual, something like Rules For How To Operate My Human Being: Final Edition. 
"And, God, I think You're awesome. You are the Creator of beautiful mountains and galaxies and everything. You are greater than everything. And really, I'm okay with that. In fact I think its wonderful. If You could just stay up there and be God, it would be great....
"But there's no need to overdo it.
"You just stay up there and keep the universe going, and I'll stay down here and make myself happy. Of course I'll follow Your Rule Book...most of the time. Oh, and give me stuff when I ask for it, please? 
"I'll worship You, no problem (make sure the Rule Book has a chapter on that). I'm not proud or arrogant or cruel or perverse or anything like that. I'm a good person. I try very hard. And I understand: You're God and I'm the creature. It will be great, God. Just don't get too involved, and everything will be fine."

Of course, I would never really say anything like this; I know that what I usually think of as "the Rule Book" doesn't permit me to present this as a serious proposal. But these words express an attitude of heart, the attitude that I usually have in my life. I think many people have a similar attitude. Good people. Even Christians.

I'm also a father. What would I do with a child like this? The child says, "Dad, you're great, tell me what I'm supposed to do, give me what I need, and then go away!"

Obviously, this child is a teenager.

I'd be patient. But I wouldn't be satisfied. My child needs so much more. I'd hope that one day this child would come to me and say, "Dad, I think I'm in love."