Oh Christmas Lights, Keep Shining On.

“Christmas night, another fight
Tears we cried a flood
Got all kinds of poison in
Poison in my blood
I took my feet
To Oxford Street
Trying to right a wrong
Just walk away
Those windows say
But I can’t believe she’s gone
When you’re still waiting for the snow to fall
Doesn’t really feel like Christmas at all
Up above candles on air flicker
Oh they flicker and they float
But I’m up here holding on
To all those chandeliers of hope
Like some drunken Elvis singing
I go singing out of tune
Saying how I always loved you darling

And I always will

Those Christmas lights, light up the street.
Down where the sea and city meet.
May all your troubles soon be gone,
Oh, Christmas lights, keep shining on.

Those Christmas lights, light up the street.
Maybe they’ll bring her back to me.
Then all my troubles will be gone,
Oh Christmas lights, keep shining on.”

-“Christmas Lights” by Coldplay

   Ah, to write again. It’s been so long, but it is very cathartic.  I’ve missed getting to put words together for fun, instead of solving problem sets or writing papers.  I never really considered myself a writer, but I find more and more that the only way for me to wrest some thoughts from my restless consciousness is to nail them to a page.
    Christmas is a good time for reflection, for taking in the previous year and looking ahead to the next.  In less than a week, 2010 and a whole decade of memories will be behind me and it’s worthwhile to sift through them and try to learn some lessons.
    I have a pernicious habit of always wishing to relieve the past, especially when there have been painful lessons contained therein. So often, I’ve said to myself “if I’d only known that at the beginning of the semester, oh how different my life would be now!”  Yet, it’s encouraging to look back at God’s gentle, yet firm hand in my life over the last 6 years, constantly guiding me and lifting me out of the hardest struggles, just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore.  If I was the man today, that I was three years ago, I never would have survived the crises placed in front of me. Nor are we alone, God gives us friends and family to walk with us, to counsel us and console us through these times of growth.
      When we hurt the most or when human love has failed us, it’s common to ask “What is love and is it even worth it?” God’s response: In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11). This is what Christmas is all about.  Jesus entered into this world, became broken, despised and undignified because God loved us!
    I daresay I’ve struggled with unrequited love more than once in my life, and who hasn’t?  The burden placed on a Christian man who seeks to live out traditional norms of courtship can seem overwhelming and anachronistic in this modern age.  As Christian men, we’re called to pray about pursuing a girl beforehand, to initiate a relationship with her at the proper time, to submit to accountability with the responsible men in her life, and after all this, to give the girl the necessary time and space to evaluate our lives, character and suitability as a potential husband.  And what if she says “No, I’m sorry, but you’re not sufficient?” As Heath Ledger’s opponent in “A Knight’s Tale” says, “You have been weighed, you have been measured, you have been counted and you have been found wanting.” What then?  Have we built our whole identity as men around our prowess with women, around successfully capturing the affections of that one woman in a million who will make us happy? Are we so preoccupied with getting the love of “the one,” that we’ve forgotten the everlasting love of “The One” who died for us? Have we fallen for the “Summer Finn” effect?
    I never really realized how Jesus stands as the perfect example of manly courage and love until I experienced rejection.  We cry to God, saying “Lord, how could you let this happen to me?  How am I supposed to handle the fact that the person I love doesn’t love me?”  To men, it often seems unfair that we should have to lead things in a relationship, that we should be the first ones to make our intentions known. “Couldn’t she just leave you hanging and throw your feeble attempts at honor and chivalry over her calloused, “liberated,” feminist, shoulder?”  But then Jesus stands as a reminder that God loved us even when we didn’t love Him, that he stepped out and took a risk on us for love, even though he knew that we would reject him initially, that we would spit on him and curse him, and yet, he took the risk anyway.  God knows more about unrequited love than you and I could ever comprehend, so when she doesn’t call or tells you things just aren’t going to work out, just remember, she was never the one meant to love you unconditionally in the first place.  Take courage and follow your Master, there are still risks worth taking.