Summary: We are all searching for something that will satisfy, something that until now has alluded us - or did we know it once? The Christmas season seems to hold out; for many, that promise again every year.

Dakota Community Church

November 25, 2012

Hiding in Plain Sight

The Unexpected Source of the Christmas

We’ve All Been Longing For

Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

And with these familiar words it begins again for another year.

Direct your attention to the screen for a minute and reflect on these images and ideas.

Norman Rockwell, Thomas Kinkade, Ideals Magazine, Kip Forester, Wonderful Life.

What is that all about?

C.S. Lewis on nostalgia.

“In speaking of this desire for our own far-off country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence; the secret also which pierces with such sweetness that when, in very intimate conversation, the mention of it becomes imminent, we grow awkward and affect to laugh at ourselves; the secret we cannot hide and cannot tell, though we desire to do both. We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience. We cannot hide it because our experience is constantly suggesting it, and we betray ourselves like lovers at the mention of a name. Our commonest expedient is to call it beauty and behave as if that had settled the matter. Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” - C.S. Lewis

We are searching for something that will satisfy, something that until now has alluded us - or did we know it once?

The Christmas season seems to hold out for many that promise again every year - not for the jaded, the ones who have abandoned hope in the face of crushing doses of annual reality.

1. We look for it in family

The plan: Big gathering, perfect meal, stimulating conversation, intimate understanding - all is forgiven, everyone understands and embraces in the soft glow of the christmas tree lights.

The reality: Dad and girlfriend show up late and fighting, Uncle Bob drinks everyone’s wine and gropes mom, turkey is cooked dry as the Sahara (thanks dad), kids run screaming and unsupervised through the house knocking over the tree and leaving a wake of destruction, everyone leaves as quickly as possible, angry and swearing never to get sucked into this sham family crap ever again.

2. We look for it in gifts/giving

The plan: Perfect gift for everyone on the list, shopping done by December 1, hints dropped and received clearly re: my gifts. Joyous openings, loving embraces, “How did you knows?” all around with the odd “It’s perfect” and “Just what I always wanted.”

The reality: Weeks in the mall trying to find the perfect gift for greedy relatives who already have everything money can buy, last minute desperation gifts of shame and over spending. OR Perfect gift for each one bought, no reciprocating, OR no appreciation, “Didn’t they have it in black? You know I prefer black.” “Can’t have too many of these things.”

We look for it in food

The plan: Christmas baking and treats galore including home made short breads, snowballs, special K marshmallow balls, Toffifays, Toblerones, Pot of Golds, and Ganongs, all enjoyed in moderation with anti-oxidant loaded green tea and warm fellowship before the open fire.

The reality: Secret shameful lonely face stuffing... +10 pounds!

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