24 December 2013

If you believe....

I have a young nephew who embraces small obsessions at various points of his life with all the fervour of the newly converted and soon to die.  And his mind works in peculiar ways - he's a big thinker, spends a lot of time on the details but on occasion thinks so far out of the box that there is a simple brilliance to his logic.

We repeat things he says so often that it is entirely possible future generations will assume he was the same kind of philosophical thinker as Confucious.

And one of my favourite is a Christmas story.  And guess what -it's Christmas time! 

Just generally, my parents love the opportunity to take my nephew and his sister to church with them on some Sunday mornings.  They get to show off two of their grandchildren and the neblings enjoy it as they enjoy most outings with their grandparents.  And the nephew has always loved it because there is singing, and he's always loved singing.  As only he can, he become passionate about 'Jesus Music' - or as you might more commonly know them 'hymns'.  Amusingly to me he lumped other Gran favourites such as The Seekers and Andre Rieu into this and if he heard them playing in her car he'd gleefully exclaim 'Jesus Music' and warble away his own versions of her favourites. 

A few Christmas' ago, my parents and various of their offspring, partners and grandchildren went along with them to church on Christmas morning.  I feel that Mum and Dad probably spent most of the service scolding us to sit up straight and pay attention but this *may* be a memory from our childhood.  Either way, I was lucky enough to sit next to the nephew.  We sat, we stood and we sang.  During one of the hymns he was looking around with an expression of fierce concentration, I leant over and whispered "What's up dude?" and he whispered back -

"I'm looking for God"
"Oh. You are are you?"
"Yep"
(Mum/Gran glares at us from end of pew - we pretend not to notice)
"Any luck?"
"Nope"

The service continues.  He spends a lot of time looking in one direction and then during the final hymn he leans over and whispers loudly "I found him!"

"You did?"
"Yep - it's that man" and points.
"How do you know?"
"He has a beard, he's old and he knows ALL THE WORDS TO ALL THE SONGS"

On the road again... 
Genius.  Most people can spend their whole lives looking for god, looking for big gestures, moments of transcendence, eyes that cry blood.  But there he is, hiding from the adults, in full view of small people who believe.

And that is the beauty of Christmas.  Whether atheist, capitalist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist.  Everybody knows an old guy, with facial hair that knows the words to all the songs.  

It really is a season for everybody.

Whatever your approach - be it Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Season's Greetings - I wish you that but most of all, Peace.