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Gift of the magi

Friday, January 6, 2017

1 John 5:11-12
God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever possesses the Son has life.

Of course John is talking about eternal life after death. But none of us has been there. There is also the eternal moment, which we are all in, all the time. I seem to experience these moments on many satisfaction levels. There is pain, and there is boredom, and there is joy.

There is the joy of hearing 7 week-old Miles at midnight, purring with those soft sounds of feeling full after I give him a bottle of milk. And there is the joy of sharing in Aly’s unending imagination, decorating trees and fixing dinner and preparing for her marriage in the morning, all while playing at the playground in the mall.

I asked her if she’d marry me, but she said no. She’d already chosen someone else. She reminded me that she was older now: 4 ½.

We’ve come back from Austin to Illinois, from 72 degrees to 12, feels like 4. I am suddenly aware again of the cuts on my thumb which activate in cold weather. What I want to remember is that all these moments are precious.

This final text of Christmas makes me think of O Henry, a short-time resident of Austin. He wrote wonderful short stories, and perhaps the most wonderful is “Gift of the Magi.” Two young married lovers give up their most prized possession for each other at Christmas.

Which is great! Except that their gifts each require what the other gave away. But instead of sharing blame and disappointment, they just “went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends – a mammoth task.”

Claiming an eternal moment always means giving rather than grasping. When Jesus touches me, I want to touch you. When Jesus loves me, I want to love you. Few times are more frustrating than when I can’t … or don’t and wish I did.

O Henry’s Jim and Della couldn’t stand to keep what was most precious to them when instead they could give something precious to the other. Sounds like Jesus was in the room with them. Teaching them how to love.

Your magic, Jesus, flings caution to the winds and lets me live all there is to live, moment by moment by moment. Manna only lasts a day, but there’s always enough for all of us. We haven’t learned that lesson yet, Lord. Your patience … thank you for your patience. Keep on teaching us how to trust you, and love each other.

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