Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Christmas!

I don't know about you, but this last month seems to have flown by.  How did we get all the way to Christmas already?  Above, you will see some pictures from our Academy Christmas play, which was performed last Thursday.  Every year, the students finish their first semester a week early and then devote the last week before Christmas break to putting on a Christmas play.  With our (the teachers') help, they not only learn all their lines, songs and dances, but they also build sets and props, sew costumes, and create playbills and programs.  Then, at the end of the week (!) they perform.  This year's show was about an hour and a half long.  And it was amazing.  I got to coach the actors, which was maddening and stressful and deeply rewarding.  I also got to help edit/write parts of the script.  

Isn't it great when you're part of a community that needs you?  The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that people need to be needed.  Independence is great, but sometimes I think we equate it with isolation.  Somehow we think that a healthy person is someone who never needs anyone else's help, but that's just not true.  People who never need help will never grow.  We all start as babies, right?  I can't think of a creature that's needier than a baby, precious little puddles of potential that they are.  All they can do at the beginning is eat, cry and poop.  And yet we make such a fuss over them.  Our hearts get all wibbly and we experience that fierce love that inspires an otherwise gentle mother bear to dismember any threat to her cub.  How different our lives would be if every person came fully prepared for independent living straight from the womb.   Whom would we feed, protect, teach, delight in?  For whom would we sacrifice?  How would we show our love?  What would love even look like?  We are meant to have needs just as surely as we are meant to fill each other's needs.

Jesus came as a baby.  There was a time in history when God incarnate could not feed himself, when God experienced hunger, loneliness, weakness, vulnerability.  He chose to embrace these things.  So why do I find myself believing that I should not?  It was good enough for God...should it not also be good enough for me?  Needs and weaknesses are not evil.  They are not a disease to be cured.  They are instead opportunities.  Every time I come up short, I have the chance to be helped, which means that someone else has the chance to make a difference in my life, to be my hero, to show me genuine love.  Every time someone I know doesn't have what it takes, I have the opportunity to do the same for them.  It's not a chore, it's an honor.  It makes our lives mean more than pleasure and comfort and all the stuff we think we should be striving for.  

This Christmas, I hope we all have needs that others can fill, and I hope we see ways to fill the needs of the people around us.  That's love, which is what this day is all about.