Sunday, December 6, 2009

To the earth below

Last week I heard this song that I just loved. It's been a while since a song like this has hit me and made me want to just keep listening to it over and over. I shared it on my facebook profile as a "slow, soulful Christmas jam." It's really nice. The song is called "Winter Snow" by Audrey Assad. Click on this link to go to Audrey's myspace page and play "Winter Snow" in another window, then keep reading this post.

Sometimes different events, conversations, and experiences weave together and form a nice, neat bow. I feel like that happened this week with this song and few other threads in my life. On Wednesday night I was talking with some friends about the real meaning of Christmas compared with what Christmas has become. We took a look at something called The Advent Conspiracy. Click on this link to check it out and just read the text on the front page of the site. There are also some cool videos to check out, but if you've been following my directions then you should still be jamming to Audrey so wait on those videos. Just read the text on the homepage.

Christmas, at least originally, is about Jesus. And unfortunately, unless it's in a church, Jesus doesn't really get a lot of play at Christmas, especially for how huge of a holiday Christmas is. As the advent conspiracy puts it, the Christmas story is one of promise, hope, and revolutionary love. It's about how this Jesus who would change everything came into the world not with huge fanfare but in a manger.

That's kind of what this song is about. Jesus could have come into the world like a hurricane or a tidal wave. But he didn't.

I started writing this blog post about two weeks ago. I didn't post it because it seemed unfinished. Part of me wanted to look into how I have bought into and contributed to this consumer Christmas. Part of me wanted to look at how as a follower of Jesus I'm called to a life that is radically different from the culture I live in and yet I am so much a product of my culture and I fit in so well here. There is a part of me that is really sad about that (but maybe too comfortable to do anything about it).

But, previous paragraph aside, I'll just leave the post with the lyrics of the song. If you haven't listened to it yet, go ahead and click on the link and check it out. Read the words, and consider what really deserves to be celebrated and worshipped this Christmas and every Christmas.

Winter Snow by Audrey Assad

Could've come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could've come like a forest fire
With the power of heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

You could've swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we've scarred

But You came like a winter snow (Yes, You did)
You were quiet You were soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Oh, no, Your voice wasn't in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn't in a rushing wind
It was still It was small It was hidden

You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below Falling (Oh, yeah) To the earth below

You came falling From the sky in the night To the earth below

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Keep In Touch

Over Thanksgiving weekend I had the great pleasure to see a good friend of mine who I have not seen in probably over ten years. How crazy is that? That's the last 40% of my lifetime in which I have not stood face to face with this person. I think most people who it's been that long since seeing for me are pretty much out of my life forever. But thankfully, not Dan.

Dan and I were good buds in elementary school. We used to ride our bikes to school together and he introduced me to Heroquest, one of the best and nerdiest board games you will ever play. We talked about the girls we had crushes on together and navigated the strange new world of middle school together.

Somewhere in the 8th/9th grade area of life Dan moved to Indianapolis, which was a bummer. As an adult who can drive, Indy does not seem far away now, but as a middle schooler it might as well have been the middle of the Indian Ocean (which is as far from Columbus as one can get on Earth). Dan came back to visit once and I went to visit him once (which I guess was a bit easier than it would have been if he really had moved to the Indian Ocean) and we talked on the phone a few times, but we pretty much lost contact.

Fast forward to college and enter Facebook. Dan and I reconnected via FB and have kept in a little better contact since then. This past weekend Dan happened to be in Columbus and he stopped by.

We caught up on life, he met my wife, and we reminisced about old times. It was great.

But that is not the norm. As of right now, I know more about Dan and how he is doing then any of my friends that I went to high school with, most of the ones I went to college with, and probably some of the ones I've made since graduating. Keeping in touch is hard. Why is that?

Some people are really good at it. I am not, I don't think. Admittedly, many of my high school buds probably keep in touch more with each other than me. There are only a few I think who would maybe call me up when in town and try to meet up (this isn't a blame-game or pity-party, keeping in touch is 100% a two-way street, it's just the reality). My wife and her high school friends have a reunion every year, but I don't see that happening with my high school friends.

I do have a reunion each year with my college friends and typically see many of them throughout the year at various times.

The friends we made from Oregon we actually have a big email chain that goes around where we take turns updating each other on our lives with short bullet point snippets from our lives. That's fun. And so far someone in the group has gotten married every year since then (two years total) and so the wedding serves as a nice reunion.

That said, keeping in touch is hard. Are you good at it? What is your main method of keeping in touch? Who do you keep in touch with the most? Is it important to keep in touch with people? At what point is it okay to stop feeling bad about feeling like a once friend is pretty much a stranger?