November 30, 2003

A beautiful thing happens when you surround yourself with friends who genuinely care about what becomes of you. Friends who understand the meaning of community in all it's intended nuance. I am somewhat awed by the intense pulling together of those people I call friends in this city. You can't find a more pure example of what community is.

I'm reading an excerpt from Nick Bantock's The Golden Mean tonight at the Gathering. Originally intended to be part of Homie's message, it is now being worked into Craig's words in Homie's stead. The message is an examination of distance and longing. How far are we from what we want, from the God we desire, and how much do we long to close that distance? Suddenly the way everything has unfolded in the past twelve or so hours has become a poignant illustration of how to push past the minutae of life to focus on what really matters. Closing the distance may be as simple as opening your eyes to the immediate generosity of friends. From Craig and Deb's quiet strength, Craig's willingness to step in on the fly, Homie's own resolve, my sister's offer of support, and Skotty's effortless taking over of the details we hadn't yet worked out, the community around us is a living reminder that your God is as close as you want him to be. He's right there. Just like friends.

It occurs to me that I've just hit on the meaning of Christmas too. Something to cling to during the maelstrom of angsty commercialism our society has imposed overtop of actual value. There is no wailing violin chorus to back this statement, no teary tug on the heartstrings. It's the beginning of advent and it simply bears pondering. What else is the point of a holiday of this sort? It is a fitting irony that the most commercial event of the year is really about stripping away everything but hope.

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