Thursday, December 24, 2009
Christmas Eve - Sadness and Redemption
Today is Christmas Eve. Through sleet and frozen rain I drove two hours to receive the remains of my dad from the crematorium. It was a sad drive on the bleakest of days. In a cold, gray, wet and freezing parking lot I exchanged my signature for a small box of what remains on earth of Leroy Adams. I wept.
On the way to the destination I listened to the radio. Commercials urged me to spend more money I don’t have on unnecessary junk I don’t need and I felt stress levels increase. Flipping to talk radio, I heard various versions of how rotten the liberals are or how rotten the conservatives are and got the sense that the world is full of rotten people. News stations unveiled all the reasons to despair over issues economic, environmental, political and military. Music stations pounded out tunes about how promiscuity and vacuous partying would certainly bring happiness but each song sounded gratuitously silly.
I began the journey grieving more deeply over the loss of my dad and with each passing mile found myself feeling more acutely sad.
Then I remembered – it’s Christmas Eve!
I rummaged through my little pile of CD’s and dug out a Christmas CD by a Celtic Christian group called the Crossing. As I heard in song deep and melodious truths about God’s love expressed to humankind through the miracle of incarnation my heart was again strangely warmed. Though I continued the drive to receive the ashes of my father, and the task was not one that brought joy, I felt nonetheless a deep sense of hope. Redemption of the moment came through refocus upon Jesus, through whom all things are created, and who emptied himself of everything to give His life and victorious salvation to all who would receive his gift of love.
Contrary to all the messages of despair and false gaiety a broken world leaks into modern consciousness – mine included – Christ does give real hope. Last Sunday in church my wife and I sang an “O Holy Night” with the church’s rock band and one line of great truth leapt from the song – “His law is love his gospel peace.”
I experienced this “law of love and gospel of peace” deeply on this “O Holy Night” – Christmas Eve in a cold parking lot with a box of sad remains.