love vs. the dragon

IMG_0694This morning I let a little child lead me…right to the front row of the auditorium in our house of worship. I went pretty willingly. The boys took some convincing. I’m so glad she listened to the prompting on her heart, and that we followed and listened to hers. (That same child then proceeded to love on a Jolly Rancher like she’d never before tasted sugar, thus turning her hands into annoyingly sticky mitts…just keepin’ it real.)

Eight notes on an old piano shared the “best news ever”: Joy to the world…Love has come! (see it here: During communion, we marked today as the first Sunday of Advent, its primary focus on the hope that Love will someday mend and make whole every broken heart. Our pulpit minister pontificated on Revelation 12, the telling of a battle between Love and a dragon for the lives of a woman and her child, or what our minister aptly described as “the Christmas story on LSD”. Behind him onstage, nine artists, from kindergarten all the way up to senior citizen, took to blank canvases and began painting their interpretations of the passage.

I gave a glance around and observed fellow church-goers with outward struggles. Two of the artists up front have a grandchild in the NICU. Other families have taken on the primary care-giving for children whose biological parents are unable. There are still others whose addictions plague them, whose marriages have disintegrated, whose babies have died. And I know – I know – that everything seen on the outside is only the iceberg’s tip. There’s way more brokenness on the inside. Way more. Waaaaaay…MORE. The dragon written of in Revelation wreaks its havoc everywhere.

A tear – just one – slid down my cheek. Squeezed out by my longing that the Joy being sung, spoken and painted before me be Real. That all we humans seek during this Christmas season (every day of our lives, really) isn’t for naught. This desire to believe that Love took human form and then — fast-forward 33 years — won The Battle That Is This Life, overcoming all death and hopelessness and despair, runs down to the deepest part of me.

I realize that’s a big if for a lot of people…the Jesus-dying-and-coming-back-to-life thing. For some faith seems to roll as easy as a wind across west Texas. But for others – including me – it’s hard. To believe that Love morphed into a man named Jesus? To believe that Love died and CAME BACK TO LIFE? That’s crazy talk. Seriously. Do I believe any of the anecdotes about the other gods of history to be true? No. But I believe the story about the God Named Love. Think about it. CRA.ZAY. But still…I choose to believe it…that Love has defeated the dragon.

If I’m wrong, if this story about Love conquering death never happened, I’m still the better for choosing to follow in the way of Jesus. I mean, REALLY. Look at the guy. He was onto something.

But…if I’m right…ohmygoodness. The idea that someday all sad things will be made untrue? That, my dears, is joy. The kind of joy for which there is no human language to describe. The kind that makes tears stream and mouths fall open in awe and hands clasp to fluttering hearts. JOY. To all the world.

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