No. I don’t. It’s too mainstream.
Seriously though, the snow is cold and icy, and I don’t want to go out alone.
(The quote from the above illustration is from a children’s book, where a lion has a tiny bird-friend in its cap, and they are going tobogganing. I cut this out from a magazine and keep it next to my desk at work.)
I love this picture. I love the idea that the world can be cold, uncomfortable, unforgiving, barren, and ICY… brrr…cold shoulders everywhere. You aren’t wanted. Who wants to go out in that?
But a friend…a friend is snug and warm.
A friend protects you, goes with you.
My current Christmas Eve plan is to teach the kids that God is with us, all of us, even after Christmas day… in fact, he’s with us always. One of the last things Jesus ever said to his disciples was …
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (New International Version)
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (New Living Translation)
and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (King James c. 1611)
behold, I am with you every day, even unto the end of time. Amen (Aramaic in Plain English)
Do you see? He is with us! For all time. In all seasons. No matter how we feel about it… he is there.
And it’s not as some mythologized Santa big brother, where he knows if you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake! He knows you in your darkness… he’s not giving up on you, he’s not holding out on you, he’s given over to holding on to you. Through thick and thin, in sickness and in health.
Elsa in Frozen has some mental health issues from a childhood trauma. Her fears are a prison for her. She can’t go out so she lives alone. Christ is like the one knocking on the door day after day asking her to go out and live life … with him.
He’s not some moral ethics teacher, saying, “Do you want to build a snowman? Because you really should go do that. I’ll be over here.” No, his teachings are, “This is what life is for, let’s go live life together.”
What I need in this cold, hard world is for my heart to be held… by the one who calls us his friends. That friendship isn’t fairweather, it’s there in the cold and ice, as a source of security and strength. And Christ demonstrated his friendship – it’s not just in title alone – by his very presence, God with us, Emmanuel. For Christmas, and for all time. God with us.