You know something I really enjoy?
Well bubbles, snow, and stars…. I can’t remember the last time I saw stars….
During the campus ministry part of the training I received before coming to Ukraine, we did a small exercise. We divided the page into four sections and with each section we drew something for the prompt told to us. In one of the boxes we were supposed to draw something that made our heart sing or something like that.
I drew bubbles.
There is something pretty wonderful about bubbles. They are so simple and delicate, and they bring me glee. They light up my soul.
I mean seriously, when was the last time you had a bad day when bubbles were involved?
We had to share this page with the person next to us. We had also drawn something about this person. Though, I can’t remember what I drew about Brent, I do remember what he drew about me. Laughter.
He said in ministry it’s important not to take yourself too seriously. I see you drew bubbles, you’ll be just fine.
I think that nothing could be more true in life. Don’t take yourself too seriously…. the moment you do you will slip on the ice and embarrass yourself (as I almost did half a dozen times today).
There is a time and place for seriousness. You don’t want to be ‘that guy’ cracking jokes at Aunt Sally’s funeral, and sometimes when life sucks serious is about all you can handle. But this post isn’t about the serious, it’s about bubbles.
I know that we are in this time of Advent, and it’s full of expectant waiting. It’s full of stillness, quietness, repentance, and watching the seconds tick by as we await the arrival of our Savior. (I am about to go against every Advent post you will read at this point, I apologize) I also think that in the hope of a Savior, the waiting can be joyful.
Call me crazy, but I look forward to Christmas. I look forward to the day that we can rejoice because the hope of the world has arrived. The One that we’ve been waiting for is here. I think about little baby Martha, and how I can’t wait for her to start talking, and walking, and really playing. That expectant hopeful waiting, though excruciating at times, is delightful. Hope is joyous. Without the hope, you’re not expecting the baby. You’re not waiting for that amazing moment when history changes. You are just dwelling in the yuckiness.
You’re not making the preparations, you’re throwing all the baby clothes away.
Here in L’viv, my friends have had a tough year. Everything is different than what it once was. People and places have changed so drastically, and it’s unfair truthfully. But somehow we’re starting to come out to the other side. Some of my friends are completely through, some are still in the yucky places, but we are starting to see the other side. I think sometimes we all need some joy. We all need some bubbles. We all need some hope.
I suggested a few weeks ago that we have a fun night. A night of fellowship. No preaching (I might have lost that battle a smidge) or singing, just not being so freaking serious for one night. I haven’t talked with anyone at length about how they liked tonight, but overall I think it was a smash. There was pizza and scavenger hunting (in the freezing), and tonight for the first time–for real–I saw the hope. I saw the life. It’s what I’ve been waiting for, and what I may still be waiting on to show up in a big way for months to come. I am waiting for folks to be ok, for folks to love me (but let’s face it, they already do hehehe), for life, for joy and hope and love to run rampant, for spaces old new and temporary, I am waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting.
I’m ok with that. I’m an excellent waiter (would you like lemon in your water?).
I know that right now I’m not supposed to mention Jesus as a man person, but I’m no pastor–so I can break the rules. Jesus knew how to have a good time, and he knew when it was time to get some work done. I don’t think that the need for fellowship can ever be overlooked. We are a social people. We were built to live in community. Sometimes that means being very serious about the dishes, sometimes that means a snowball fight.
Some of Jesus’ most memorable moments happened among friends breaking bread and telling stories. Sounds like fellowship to me. I think that when we talk about spiritual practices, we talk a lot about fasting, devotion, praying, blah blah blah and we often leave out the need to chill with our fellow Christians. Sometimes we need to stop being so freaking serious, and do something silly, have some pizza, and check on the souls of ourselves and our friends.
I mean really you don’t want to be that grumpy old guy, and just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean that you have all the sudden lost your personality or will to be cool (this coming from quite possibly the lamest person on earth). Jesus was a cool dude, and we are all called to be more Christlike, so for heaven’s sake please take some time for fellowship. We’ve all got to find some joy, some hope, and something good to wait for. What better way than to schedule a skiing trip with your Sunday School class, or ice skating with folks ya love?
I love my folks in L’viv. Guilty.
The life and the joy brought to that student center tonight, with the assistance of a couple of pizzas and scavenger hunt fun, might not have been what we need to make everything all right–to lift the burdens from our souls entirely,–but I can assure you, the more glimpses of hope ya get the lighter the burden becomes. The bits of hope start to break you free from the gloom. Hope gives you a reason to move forward into the unknown and away from the yuckiness. Fellowship can be a ray of hope, and Christmas is MOST DEFINITELY the greatest hope.
If you’ve read this far, you are dedicated and crazy since this was probably 3 different crazy ranting posts all in one. Kudos. I will leave you with this, during this time of waiting and soul inspection take some time for the bubbles. Take some time for a snow ball fight. I promise your soul needs it.