Life is a vapor and all this beauty simple magic.~Text from a dear friend who sent me beautiful, funny images when I succumbed to illness during Christmas week
I lay in my bed, a campground of Kleenex, heavy blankets and honey-lemon cough drop wrappers. Orange and blue Equate Cold and Flu tablets encased in their hard-to-open silver packets sat perched on my nightstand. And I had not wrapped any presents. But really all I could do was stay under the covers, scrolling YouTube and playing WordScapes while mouth breathing. We all know the rigors of a cold, and gratefully, I was not Covid positive.
At some point, the cold remedy kicked in, and I was able to watch a movie, Three Thousand Years of Longing. The title intrigued me more than anything. Tilda Swinton portrays an academic who travels to Turkey to present some of her research. While there, she shops at a Turkish market and buys a blue and white bottle. The shop keeper attempts to sway her to buy something else, as the bottle is encrusted with mud. She cannot be persuaded to choose a prettier glass bottle. She promptly takes the bottle to her hotel room and begins to clean off the debris with her electric toothbrush. The top flies off and a rush of purple vapor emerges from the bottle. A djinn appears and grants the scientist three wishes (Played by Idris Elba). The djinn says he wants to grant her heart's desire. The woman resists, but eventually says she has wishes, but doesn't know if they are possible.
1. She wishes to be loved by the djinn. 2. She wishes the djinn to love her in return. 3. She wishes the djinn to always be where he is supposed to be, because for thousands and thousands of years he has been wrongly inprisoned in the bottle.
Her wishes are granted. They find love, and the djinn periodically is called away "to be where he is supposed to be."
I guess that's about as good as love gets in the movies, and maybe not near as good in real life. Humans are remarkable in their quest and longing for love and will do almost anything to lay hold of it--even dangerous things.
Now at Christmas, we celebrate that love has come. The message of the birth of Christ for many has become a cultural trope, the meaning of His glorious vulnerability to come as a baby diluted amidst the stress and materialism that freaks people out during this time of year.
Yet even so, He came because He loves the world. He loves individuals. It is only my experience, but even so, it is a real love that I have felt from Him. It is a feeling of not having to pretend, or be someone that I'm not, for He loves my personality, even with all the quirks and weakness. His love is an experience of being listened to and understood, of feeling safe. It is a love that can be fully received without obligation to give back, yet fully wanting to reciprocate, because in my humaness I love Him too.
There is evidence of His love all around--the sun and moon and stars, and the feeling you get when the sun goes down and the sky is orange and you've got a book to read. There's the time you said just the right thing in your presentation and knew you'd had divine help. And everyone clapped you on the back and said "Hurrah for you!" And then you meet with a friend and they listen and listen while you pour your heart out and they say, "I understand." You open your Bible and the words are not merely ink on the page--they sink right into your heart and you get through the day because you know--you really know and feel that God loves you.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.~John 3:16 (NIV)
In this imperfect, chaotic world, even with all the messiness and events and circumstances we can't figure out, He loves us. He loves this world.
Thankfully, I'm on the upswing and feeling much better. And thanks to you, kind readers, for your love over 2022, for taking time to read my posts, send me emails, tell me of your lives. I send my love to you. Merry Christmas.