PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … December 13th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I Am Christmas

I need a virgin mind

To process what I find

I need the Spirit to birth

Some peace upon our Earth

Give me a simple place

To reach the human race

The angels from on high

Descend from the sky

To inhabit my human frame

The message to proclaim

“Good will to men and women,” you see

Let the tenderness begin with me

Stars in my eyes

Reject vicious lies

Follow the dreamer’s path

Abandon the King of Wrath

Shepherd my thoughts toward grace

See God in my neighbor’s face

My heart is the gold I bring

Blessing is the song I sing

It’s Jesus, Prince of Care

The only wisdom I know to share

For the Word has become my skin

Free at last of the burden of sin

I will dwell among my likeness

To humbly share with kindness

For I am Christmas–come and see

The manger child reborn in me.

 

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The “Blah Factor” … December 10, 2011

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For the past two weeks I’ve been traveling from town to town under the banner of “A Spirited Christmas,” presenting a program of music, humor, silliness, stories, inspiration, entertainment and thought-provoking ideas. It has been great fun.

Last night I landed in a location where they were advertising a service on December 21st called “Blue Christmas.” It’s a time of commiseration for those who are depressed during this holiday season due to financial set-back, loss of family members, memories of bad holidays, unemployment or other alleged reasons for being disgruntled.

I was offended.

Perhaps “offended” is not the right word. I have grown weary of seeing our society curry to the lowest common denominator in an attempt to appear caring, all-knowing and expansive. Believe you me, if I thought depression had any value, I would encourage the members of the club. If I believed that the Bible was sympathetic to those who find themselves disappointed. I would lavish them with mercy and kindness. And I do believe there is a time when people are wounded and they need a good cuddle. Yes–a big hug.

But the Bible says that “weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Notice the lack of an in-between step? There is no “season of reflection,” recovery, or retreat from life’s journey. We get over it and allow joy back into life.

I do NOT think we help people by allowing them to wallow in their fear, apprehension and sense of desperation. I have a brother who claims to have been depressed for twenty-six years now and is even on disability because of it. When I suggest to him some ways that he might be able to become a functioning part of society again, he becomes enraged and calls me “ignorant” because I do not understand the height and depth of clinical depression. Here’s a clue: if you know WHY you’re depressed and WHAT is making you upset and HOW it occurred and might even have an inkling on how to get out of it, it’s not clinical. Clinical depression would be a chemical imbalance which takes over your personality without you totally understanding the reasons for it.

I know it is posh, liberal and even considered to be knowledgeable to come across tender-hearted to those who are suffering in their own minds, but I don’t really think it is loving. Yes, I do think we need to cuddle people who are hurting during the Christmas season, but we have entered a realm where we are coddling them–erroneously allowing them to continue to be out of the loop–and ever expecting to escape their status.

We are a people who have enough “jungle” inside of us that we only admire those who overcome adversity–not those who are overcome by it.

We may throw a shout-out of grace their way, but we expect the weeping to cease very soon–and the joy to arrive.  Are we wron”? Or is the errent behavior manipulating people by keeping them weak, making ourselves appear stronger and open-minded?

I do not believe in holding a service called “Blue Christmas” where people can come and sadly explain wh,y during this “good will towards men” season, they have chosen to check out. After all, no one should have been more depressed than a pregnant teenager under ridicule for claiming that her baby was conceived by God, traveling to a strange town to be taxed along with her new husband who was equally bewildered, only to arrive in the community and have no lodging anywhere but in a barn.

This is a story of common people overcoming. I know the passable philosophy of our time is to allow folks to be depressed during the season that provides the greatest capacity of escape from bondage. I will not participate.  Because if you coddle people, they grow accustomed to the attention and soon their personalities curdle. Yes–they sour on life because it is a great way to maintain an identity without actually identifying themselves.

I know there are those who have suffered devastation, disease and tragedy in their recent history. It is difficult to imagine going on. But when God came across Cain, who was greatly upset because his gift was not accepted, the Almighty did not coddle him. He said, “Why are you angry? Why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying at the door, ready to eat you alive.”

When are people more vulnerable than when they’re allowed to be depressed–and in the process may welcome in much worse demons?

So give people a cuddle. Give them a hug and buy them a gift. Present them with a candy cane. But when you coddle them and tell them that depression is an acceptable option, you will end up curdling their personality and producing sour individuals who eventually have no capability of finding the sweetness in life.

I just don’t believe that we fail to minister to those who are hurting by encouraging healing.

I think people are tired of being frustrated. And if you’ve been “dissed” at an appointment, you need to be encouraged to make another one–otherwise despair will set in and you will be at the mercy of the worst devils of your nature.

So a big “phooey” from me for “Blue Christmas”–and I, for one, am sick of the blah factor being presented as not only a personal choice, but gradually a preference in our society. Cry your eyes out for a night.

But you know you’re finding your way … when joy comes in the morning.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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