Here’s the good news for those who’ve just had a baby: You get to take home a bundle of love who will be the apple of your eye for years to come. It's like being born again yourself. Wonder will come to live at your house.
Exploring the Word
We know that we live in a divided nation. Politically we are not all on the same page. Economically, racially, ethnically, and religiously, Americans do not share the same perspective or the same reality. Some live in gated communities, others sleep on subway grates.
First impressions can be deceiving. Think of the people who are in your life today and compare your original perception of them with what you know now. Sometimes our initial “take” on someone is off by a little, and sometimes by a lot.
Mortality being what it is, we are limited by definition. Most of the time we forget this as we bluster off into the thick of our lives, managing Herculean feats like raising children, committing our fidelity for life, accepting the suffering and death of those we love, and living with the ongoing surrender of youthful strength and beauty in exchange for the encroaching pain and disability of old age.
Why are so many of us reluctant to ask for directions? I don’t have a macho bone in my body and yet I hesitate—till I am good and lost—before I’ll stop someone for help. Maybe it’s because we don’t like to appear weak or fallible, though we are surely both.
There’s no intrinsic reason why a new year should be any different from an old one. While we’re conscious of having turned a page on a whole new calendar, New Year's Day is really no more than just another sunrise. Still, we greet each new year with hope for the chance to be born again to new life and possibilities.
I’m not a parent, so I may be stepping out on a limb in discussing what the dreams of a parent look like. But not too long a limb, because I do have six brothers and sisters who are parents, plus I had parents myself who had dreams for me.
For everything there is a season, an ancient Hebrew sage once told us. The season of Christmas, which lasts for eight days, is surely a time for love. God shows his delight in the human race—yes, us: weak, faltering, faulty, disobedient, and disappointing as we often are.
What is a righteous person supposed to look like? We can make all kinds of guesses, some scholarly, others opinionated. The prophets might declare a soul righteous who walks in the path of justice and peace.
German writer and professional pessimist Franz Kafka wrote in his diary that impatience was at the root of every sin since the Garden of Eden. This insight—from a man who could vividly imagine waking up one morning as a cockroach—demonstrates Kafka’s supreme sense of anxiety at the heart of the human condition.