Sunday, January 02, 2005

Christmas To The Curb

Walking around our neighborhood tonight (yes, I did walk and yes, I am a sweaty nasty mess), I saw that for the most part Christmas is dead in our part of the world. Along the route, every third or fourth house had its Christmas tree laying curbside, waiting for the tree fairies to carry the trees off to a beautiful tree retirement community in the foothills of Nirvana. I don't see it as a sad thing - I think it's good to let go of the holiday and get back into the "real world" of work and school and deadlines and bill payments. Kicking Christmas to the curb like that means it's okay to move on, time to move on, let's get a move on and move on.

Other homes still have their lights up, and that's okay, too. Laziness is its own reward - naah, really not passing judgment. Their houses are still celebrating, still remembering the joy and laughter and giving and receiving of another holiday season. By this time next week, most of those houses will be de-decorated, too, and most of those trees will join their buddies in the curb. For now, they're just still a little too party-hardy to give it up completely.

I had my first profound thought of the year while walking through the 'hood: forgiveness doesn't restore relationship, doesn't automatically bring reconciliation and renewed fellowship. That's deep for me - forgiveness for the Christian has been a redundant reality for me, something needed to restore relationship with the Father. Jesus forgives in totality, but if I falter and fail then I need to repent and confess so that the relationship can be restored, right? But there's more than that. Forgiveness removes the barrier my sin throws up between me and Christ, but the relationship won't automatically jump back to "normal" just because I said I'm sorry. Doesn't happen in real life, and it doesn't happen with God. So what is it? What restores relationship? Where does real reconciliation come from?

My first thought, the slightly profound one, is that it comes from the continued and constant pursuit of God towards me, His child, and my renewed and resurrected pursuit of Him, my Father. That's where reconciliation comes from, I think. Not only does He forgive, but He's still in constant pursuit. My confession and repentance open the door for restoration, but I must also walk through and pursue fellowship with Him. In my life, I've screwed up with others. Others have forgiven me and I've forgiven others, but relationship is still often held off because there's not always a mutual "I want us to get back together" going on. When we sin against each other, when we hurt each other - there's a tendency to grow apart, to let that one go, to hold onto the hurt whenever that person comes to mind or enters a room. "I forgive you, but we have nothing left together".

Christmas trees are on the curb all up and down the street. For me, it's time to live in pursuit of relationship, to re-discover some form of confidence in fellowship with new friends and old friends.

2 Comments:

Blogger janet said...

forgiveness doesn't restore relationship, doesn't automatically bring reconciliation and renewed fellowship.That was my biggest lesson of 2004, and it was one I deeply resented for a long time. Something that happened in January took a full year to resonate within. What I've found since then is that, in my case at least, renewed fellowship was not what God had in mind. For me to grow and mature (in a few different areas), I had to walk through that rough spot in order to find greater blessingss beyond it. Had that severance of relationship not occurred -- I would have missed out on an awful lot that God had in store for me. And the only way I would learn that was to chew on my own foot for awhile, if you know what I mean. It hurt a lot of others in the process, too, so it wasn't pleasant. But where you will be verses where you've come from and where you are will, at some point, turn out to be a remarkable gift of the Lord if you let it.

Great post, R.

2/1/05 10:49 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

thanks, jae - i've met a just a very few folks who've been through a similiar sitch, and yours is the same message: i wouldn't discover what's coming next without what happened back then.

peace & thanks again :)

3/1/05 7:09 AM  

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