Friday, December 13, 2013

You Run After Me

The Christmas season is one of my favorite, but I have found myself not quite as allured by the standards. I like the lights and the cold and the festivities, but as I get older I need the meaning to be central. Stuffing stockings and shoving cookies down my throat only offers so much satisfaction, then the January doldrums hit. I need something more complete, and it’s been there in front of me the whole time: what Christmas is, the King and Creator coming to earth for us. Even January doldrums and the ten pounds I’m going to put on in the next two weeks can’t mess with that.

I haven’t listened to standard Christmas music the last couple of weeks, but I’ve found other music screaming out to me what Christmas is, what life is, in a more direct way.

Discovering the song "And I Don't Deserve You" by Plumb a couple of weeks ago on 101.7 has just about shattered me. These lyrics specifically hit home:

I don't deserve your love
But you give it to me anyway
Can't get enough
You're everything I need
And when I walk away
You take off running and come right after me
It's what you do
And I don't deserve you

Full lyrics here:

The reason I’m so moved is because I have not previously been a Prodigal’s Son or leave-the-99-sheep-to-find-the-one kind of gal. I was a rule follower. I understood why the Prodigal’s son brother was a tad tissed when Mr. Party Pants ran home, out of money, looking for dad. I mean, the other brother had been there the WHOLE TIME! You’re killing the fattened calf for this misfit? And the sheep, oh my gosh. Sheep are stupid. I can’t believe when the one sheep ran off the other 99 didn’t just go with him because they are that gullible. But I had no sympathy for the one sheep. If I had been one of the other 99 I would have been saying to the sheep next to me, “Seriously, we are stopping and the shepherd is going back for that fool? If he’s stupid enough to wander off, let him find his way back. This does not even seem logical. Whatever, I’m taking a nap.”

But in previous years, it’s hit me like a ton of bricks in the face: I am a sheep, and I am not really that smart. And sometimes I have been the son who was hanging out at home close to dad, and sometimes I’ve been the prodigal. And God loved me anyway. In fact, according to Plumb and the Bible, He runs after me. He takes off after me. He comes to get me. Even when I’m stupid and making bad decisions. Even when I’m the hypocritical brother who can’t be happy to see someone else stumble back home. Still, He comes after me.

And that’s Christmas. I can’t think of a better explanation of someone running after me with all their might than what happened when God arrived on earth, a child, Jesus, sinless but leaving Himself open to every hurt and temptation of this world. So God could be glorified. So He could come get us, arriving knowing that on earth He was going to be crucified. He took off running and came right after us anyway. Merry Christmas, indeed.

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