Essay / Misc.

Happy Holidays

John Mark Reynolds, 2004.

I love holidays. Just hearing, “Happy holidays!” normally makes me happy. Not today. Who knows why? If blogs are supposed to be, at least partly, about self-reflection, then let me say that today is one of those days when I am tired of myself. Tired of my thoughts on politics. Tired of my thoughts on Plato. Tired of my thoughts on thinking. December is also the end of the year and the semester and I am tired. . . not of my wonderful students, my job, friends, or family. I am tired of me.

Even saying that much is to look at myself looking at myself which is even more tiresome. I am not so much depressed as tired of being in my own head. The only justification in writing such things is, I suppose, that it might help someone else. One of the good things about being a Christian is that on days when you see yourself as you are. . . as I am doing today. . . you don’t have to try to cheer up. The messes you have made, the people you have offended, the stupid things you did when you were young that now seem a good bit less stupid and good bit more wicked. . . all those things are real. They are part of who you are.

Of course making that sound unique is a new kind of selfishness. Failure is pretty human. Even if you mostly win, and are as gifted as a George Bush, there must come mornings when mortality, your own and those you love, hits you. Family is pretty wonderful and one of the best ways to escape self, but their mortality means that they cannot help in the end. Hallmark is wrong. Christmas better not be all about family. I am sorry my Aunt Karen and Uncle Roddy are not alive this holiday season. I hate the fact that all but one of my grandparents cannot share the season. The world is such a wonderful place in so many ways that it is a shame that great people have to stop being part of it. And yet they too must have had such days when they knew that they were not much and less than even that.

Of course, they have not stopped being part of the world. They have simply moved out of the Cave into the sunlit lands. I know, better than I know my own banal nature, that they watch over me in the great cloud of witnesses. They have been transformed. Today, this day, they are holy. Hurrah! That is a cheering thought. The Holidays are Holy Days. They take us outside of weary little heads and our friends and family who cannot save us or themselves. Holy Days save us by being signs to the Holy One who can save it all: nation, family, and yes, self.In the end, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Blood and Righteousness. When I kneel and pray with all the rest of my parish and say that “we do not presume to come. . . in our own righteousness,” we do not have to waver. It is grace and God’s goodness that is amazing. . . not seeing my own worthlessness. And that gives me hope. Always hope. That most Christian of virtues. The world, my life, and my future are not about me and my lack of ability. They are not about me at all.

Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Can anyone get tired of Jesus? Not the real Jesus. The Jesus I create always lets me down. The Jesus outside of me, the real one, is infinite and personal. He is making me, the cosmos, different and pulling me outside of myself to real Self. He calls me to service and less self-reflection. Oddly that makes me more like myself, He says. I believe Him. Thanks be to God for His grace. Happy Holy Days!

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