Posts Tagged ‘love’

What We Learn from Santa and Jesus | Advent 2014

What We Learn from Santa and Jesus |

There are clearly a lot of differences between Santa and Jesus, bronchi but I’ve never really thought about how opposite they are until this year. As I’ve been meditating on Christmas this advent season, plague I’ve been struck by how we have one season that celebrates both Jesus and Santa, and yet their messages and the lessons they teach us are completely different.

Santa teaches us that he keep a count of all our mess-ups and sins and will hold them against us.

Jesus teaches us that he sees us as pure and holy and righteous.

Santa teaches us that good deeds make us deserving of good gifts.

Jesus teaches us that prostitutes and murderers and traitors are the first to receive the gift he offers.

Santa teaches us about a practical system of rewards and punishments designed to make sure we behave.

Jesus offers his ridiculous and wasteful love, knowing that grace is the only thing that truly transforms hearts.

Santa teaches us about a world that is just–people get for Christmas what they earned that year.

Jesus teaches us that a baby came into an unjust world and suffered an unjust birth, life, and death, all the while teaching us of the importance of fighting for beauty and love and grace and truth.

In advent, we are caught between the tension of waiting for a Savior who already came and one who will come again. The tension of living in a world on its way to redemption but not quite there yet. The tension between being sinners and holy co-heirs with Christ. The tension between wanting Santa’s orderly, practical system of justice because it’s so much easier than wrestling with the messiness of mercy and grace, but also hungering for the extravagant love of a little baby. It’s a love we will never be able to fully understand, and yet it’s love that is strong enough to break the chains of death and redeem and restore us beyond what we could ever imagine.

In the midst of pain and longing and confusion, Jesus is a reason to rejoice. He is Emmanuel. He is the Savior. He is the Hope of the world. He is the baby we are waiting for. He is coming.

The Giver | Is Love Worth It?

the giver

Warning: Spoiler alert for The Giver

I, gynecologist like probably every other student in the U.S., hepatitis read The Giver in middle school. I really wasn’t a fan, this possibly partly because I didn’t like my English teacher, and so when the movie came out earlier this year I wasn’t super enthused to see it. But when I did see it, I was absolutely blown away. The movie made the book come alive in a really special and beautiful day.

The Giver is set in a dystopian society that has gotten rid of all potential causes for conflict such as sickness, lying, violence, and race. But along with that they have also gotten rid of emotions, biological families, music, art, color, sexual attraction, and love. The Giver is the only one in the society who has memories of the past and through these memories he experiences all the pain that used to exist in the world, but also experiences true joy and love. Jonas is a young man who is chosen to be the Receiver, to receive all the memories that the Giver has. As Jonas receives these memories, he experiences both the pain and beauty that used to exist in the world, which the community he’s grown up in has eradicated. At the end of the movie he decides to escape from the community and travel through the world of “Elsewhere” to cross the boundary of memory so that all the memories will return to the people of the community. Jonas decides that even though returning the memories will mean that people will have to experience immense pain, suffering, disease, and war, it’s worth it because they will also experience the astounding beauty of love.

The movie brings up poignant theological questions. I believe that we, along with angels and demons, have been given free will by God. This has created a world in which people do terrible things–there is murder, cancer, abuse, and rape. So why has God given us free will?  LOVE.  A world with free will is the only world in which there can be true love. And so the question is this: Is love worth it? Is the incredible beauty of love worth the pain and suffering we go through?

Some people would say no. But I agree with Jonas–love is inexplicably worth it. The warm hug of a parent, the feeling of holding your baby for the first time, your wedding day, being overwhelmed by the majesty of the world around you, crying at a beautiful song, feeling enveloped by the love of God, the power of forgiveness and healed and redeemed lives…it’s worth it.

As we fall more in love with Jesus, the more our heart breaks for what breaks his and the harder we fight against the powers of darkness. Because one day heaven will come to earth and there will be no more tears or dying or suffering because the old order of things will pass away. And He who is seated on the throne will say, “I am making everything new!” And we, empowered by the Holy Spirit, have the privilege and responsibility of living every day fervently calling the Kingdom of God to Earth.

And if you still don’t think love is worth it, watch The Giver and maybe you’ll be convinced.