Good News and Better News… December 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog




My Christmas morning:

  • Four tiny little ones
  • One twelve-year-old
  • A teenager
  • Eighteen adults
  • And six dogs marauding about, sniffing at presents.

It was all held in a lovely, but somewhat square-footage-impaired house in East Nashville.

Although most people consider Christmas to be a holiday season which they either enjoy or complain about trying to get through, I contend that Christmas is a microcosm of life as it should be. It’s a collision of giving and receiving, organizing and finding yourself surprised by a slip-up, and having a crunch of humanity around you which requires you to be open-minded and willing to adapt.

For instance, in the course of our morning, well over a hundred presents were opened.

Also, one of the young men decided to use it as an occasion to propose marriage to his girlfriend–an amazing precedent.

And there were moments of silliness followed by junctures of tenderness, concluding with decisions to stay energetic enough to survive the gauntlet.

The adults made themselves flexible to appreciate toys opened by Santa believers and the subtleties of certain gifts which needed to be explained because they only had significance to the recipient.

Then, in the midst of the festivities and the brunch following, we discovered that one of the guests just lost his grandma. She had passed away in her sleep.

Quiet–and amazing it was how quickly it settled on the room, even among the children. A time to feel and consider the magnitude of such a departure.



Allowing ourselves to transition from one emotion to another without trauma or drama, to return to eating and enjoying one another as life insisted on pushing forward. I heard one person declare the day a “miracle,” but actually, it’s the way our lives are meant to be lived: in abundance.

Abundant opportunities

Abundant problems

Abundant relationships

Abundant attempts

Abundant failures

Abundant successes

And abundant gratitude

The good news is that Christmas is a time for abundance.

The better news is that the baby in the manger came to give us life, and it more abundantly.

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You can’t go home again–unless?… July 5, 2012


Pursuing an insidious inclination towards promptness, I arrived at the home of my son, daughter-in-law and mushrooming three-year-old grandson in East Nashville yesterday at eleven o’clock to participate in a most-profound, yet predictable, Independence Day cookout. I had not seen them since Christmas. Therefore, there was a “roots-and-barley” part of my Father-Earth soul that was yearning to return to the plantation and spy my young’uns.

The makeup of the list of participants included four of my sons, a grandson, one daughter-in-law, one mother of that daughter-in-law, two old friends, their daughter and her new boyfriend (whom no one had met as of yet). Also present was my wife of forty-one years and my traveling partner of seventeen summers.

It was an intriguing mixture. As I looked around the room, I realized I’d had my fingers in all of the human pies present in one way or another. Even the mother of my daughter-in-law and I had had some serious disagreements about the burgeoning relationship between her child and mine. I think she believed me to be a heretic from her particular rendition of Christianity, which, from my perspective, doesn’t get many free nights away from the campus of Bob Jones University.

I came to enjoy myself–maybe even to have a sensation of “coming home.” But I should have taken some wisdom from my heavenly Father, who handled His particular rendition of parenting and creative expression much more wisely. For after all, God created the heavens and the earth–and then He left for a long time. It’s estimated by the scientific community that the separation was billions of years. Upon returning, He discovered that His creative efforts had not progressed very far, and were without form and somewhat useless. So being the genius He was, He added water and air into the mixture–and departed again. As any good scientist will tell you, an atmosphere of oxygen in the presence of water, where the spores of life are readily available, will ultimately set in motion an avalanche of evolution.

The Creator continued to return at various intervals to review the progress of this ever-evolving creation of His, occasionally inserting some desirable conditions and always ending His visitation to the “cook-out” with a proclamation that “it was good.”

That’s the way I felt yesterday. I didn’t feel like I was coming home. Seasoned traveler that I am, I have learned that home is wherever I am allowed to be all that Goid has made me to be. But what I did feel was a great creative pride of having set something in motion and allowing it to evolve without much interference from me. The end result is that some of my creations became birds, some fish, some primates and some, mammals. I think we even have a few trees and vines mingled in there somewhere. They each take the air and water that I’ve provided and use it to grow in different directions.

But also like the great creation story, I realize that each and every one of them will reach a point in their evolution where they’re going to get tired of “monkeying around,” and would like to learn the most effective way towards leaping over the missing links in life and discovering the true passion and potential of being humans, created in the image of God. I’m not trying to be overly dramatic or analytical; it’s just that every child born of woman and conceived by the seed of man has to eventually realize that just subsisting in the natural order and sucking up resources around you will not translate you into the world of greater intelligence.

That requires a second creation–another meeting in a garden where God touches us and allows us to stop “apeing” the society around us, as we become truly human. Until then, we will go through fits of independence and fuss about the climate and difficulties in life, because we have not yet taken our place as the caretakers of the earth, responsible to be merciful to the animals, respectful of Mother Nature and equal to our brothers and sisters.

I was moved to be with my family–but I was also delighted to leave and let them continue their evolution.

  • One of them is about to become a parent and another, ready to give birth.
  • One is exploring the newness of romantic relationship, and the other wiggled on the hook as if he was being cast in a really bad Ben Stiller movie.
  • Two of them were aging, desperately needing to stop talking about their maladies and realize that the greatest joy in getting older is ripening to maturity, understanding that Day Two of that process does initiate rotting.
  • One is dealing with his own fatherhood issues from a distance.
  • Another wants to enjoy being the mother of a new grandchild while still inexplicably expressing some disapproval over the whole miracle.
  • And the other two are young and free of entanglements–trying to keep body and hearth in the same proximity while increasing their value, both as men and potentially as lovers.
  • Then I have two buddies–one of which, after many of years of being a devoted mother, would like to know what it’s like to be an upstart, youthful novice, with new places to go; and finally, a friend, who for some reason, likes to mount stages with me and squawk her best to often less-than-appreciative audiences.

Evolution. It does not belong to Darwin or to scientists. It was God’s idea. And the intelligent ones will follow His example–create, give air, breath and water–and allow the offspring of their efforts to find new avenues of progression.

You CAN go home, friends, as long as you don’t insist that everything has to stay the same. It won’t. And if you pout and object, you will be marched like the naughty dinosaur you are, to the tarpits for extinction.

I love all my creations. I love them so much that I allow them to be left alone, to evolve. I do hope that each and every one of them, at some point, will realize that hanging around in the jungle scratching yourself is no replacement for taking dominion over the earth and using the brain God gave you. I do hope they all will arrive at the gates of Eden, seeking entrance.

Then, I hope we can stand together, created in the image of God, view the journey of our upward mobility and opine in unison: “Damn! It was good.”


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