We need a little Christmas now.


The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 11:6 NRSV


Ever wonder how this verse from the Old Testament might apply to our lives today in this Advent season of 2019?


Stepping back a bit further, have you noticed yourself feeling conflicted with other people during 2019? Maybe other adults in your workplace or even in your own home? Your own family or marriage? Worst case, have you ever felt like opposites becoming unattracted? Something like a wolf and a lamb, leopard and a young goat, lion and a young cow or other victim waiting to happen?


Unless this old retired therapist and pastor misunderstands, there is a chance you have indeed noticed yourself being at odds with other people this year. If so, you perhaps have never needed Christmas as much as you need this one, even if you’ve not yet realized this to be the case.


For decades on end, both as therapist and pastor, I’ve been asked to help couples on the verge of divorce. Couples who found themselves struggling for anything amounting to civil conversation. Even lying down together felt uncomfortable to them. Whatever their conflicts, what led most of them to enter my office was, somehow or other, one or more of the children.


Perhaps you’re not surprised to read this.


Perhaps you’ve been that child in relation to your own conflicted parents, the lion and lamb in your own family that you wished could somehow learn to lie down in peace. And just get along together for a change.


I assure you there are many Americans living today in our age of political divide who feel like helpless, powerless children wishing their leaders in government could somehow learn to live and work in peace, and to just get along together for a change. Were I ever mysteriously asked to provide counsel or pastoral care to our political leaders today, my first question would be a doozy. “What kind of future do you want for your children and their own children here in America? What kind of liberty and justice would you want them to have?”


I would so want to keep the focus on the long range future for our nation and world. We Americans are in the habit of thinking short term about everything. We want what we want when we want it, and we want it now. Not later. We can’t get along together. We’re a sick and dysfunctional family, short-sighted, an expensive emergency room visit and intensive care unit bed waiting to happen (another reason healthcare expenses account for nearly 20% of our very large national economy).


Focus on the future for our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids.


What’s in their best interest?


What can we do to keep their best future and best interest from happening? And, more importantly, what do we need to do differently today that might cause it to truly happen?


Focus on the long-range future and start behaving accordingly.


Perhaps that was the focus God had in mind where Christmas is concerned. Do you suppose? Perhaps that is what God has in mind even today on the verge of Christmas 2019. Get over ourselves. Think about the kids for a change, and about the future world they will live in. Twenty, forty, sixty, eighty years from now. What’s in their best interest?


And now start today to behave accordingly.


Is it possible that’s why God went to the trouble of coming to earth Himself in the person of the Christ of Christmas. The child, Jesus, was God’s way of focusing on the future for all the rest of us still to come. God’s way of asking humanity what kind of world we wanted to leave behind for future generations, long range and even longer. Do we want people who are conflicted and at odds to get along with each other? The metaphorical lion and lamb lying down together for a change? If so, then we need to focus on the Christ-child of Christmas. And start today to behave accordingly. Acting toward those with whom we are conflicted even as Jesus acted. We had better let the Christ-child lead us if we expect that future to ever happen.


You may be familiar with the theatrical name, Mame Dennis. In the 1966 Broadway musical, “Mame,” we find Mame Dennis living as a wealthy and selfish individual in the period of America’s Great Depression. Her motto was shockingly simple: "Life is a banquet and most poor sons of bitches are starving to death." That is until something came along and changed her focus. A child. Her late brother’s son, the nephew named Patrick who became Auntie Mame’s new, ur, r-r-r-r-responsibility. A word Mame Dennis hadn’t cared or even thought much about prior.


And so we have this lyrical tribute to our season playing nowadays for our own hearing:

Mame:

For I've grown a little leaner, Grown a little colder, Grown a little sadder, Grown a little older, All: And I need a little angel Sitting on my shoulder, Need a little Christmas now.


Yes, we all need a little Christmas now. We all need a little child to lead us. A child who wants us to lie down together comfortably, to love our enemies, to get along together, to get over ourselves, and to focus on the liberty and justice we’d like for our kids and grandkids and beyond. The Christ-child of Christmas, who wants us to follow him and behave accordingly starting now. “Right this very minute,” as Mame Dennis sings it.


The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.

Isaiah 11:6 NRSV

Yes, we need a little Christmas now!


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