Eager longing (December Synchroblog)

We have three small children – the eldest just five and a half – and you can imagine the sense of anticipation that is building as Christmas hoves into view. Now, given my views on commercial culture (see my LUBH talks) you might think that the way in which the children are so focused on ‘presents’ is something to be repudiated or frustrated. And yet, there is something here that is worth redeeming. And that is hope.

For what the kids are doing is looking forward to something. They don’t know quite what it is – they’ve had all sorts of hints – but they are excited by it all, and it all seems a little bit magical. And then there is the day itself, with lots of celebrations and opening of presents and lots and lots of fun.

Now it may well be that the attention given to presents – most especially the attention given to the receiving of presents, rather than the giving – is something that needs to be grown out of. But what is now clear to me is that this time is all about the hope and longing for something to come into a life – and that it is very important and healthy to nurture that hope.

Imagine that such things were squashed and made pious; that such longings were replaced by more acceptable and formulaic religiosity. Something utterly essential would be lost. For that eager longing is something needed in our world. Some sense of possibility – that things will soon change – that we can achieve or obtain what we most desire – that seems to me to be healthy, and the adult expression of it – what we need when we consider the state of our world, what we need in order to deal with the state of our world – that is built on the foundations of small boys filled with eager longing for a castle, or a digger, or an Action Man.

We need to nurture our eager longings. That way we might one day be revealed as children ourselves.


A synchroblog is when a number of different bloggers agree to write on the same topic at the same time (I missed that last element this month).
Redeeming the Season is the Topic for this month’s SynchroBlog. Now there are a variety of seasons being celebrated at the end of each year from Christmas to Hannukah to Eid al-Adha and Muharram, from the Winter Solstice to Kwanzaa and Yule. Some people celebrate none of these seasonal holydays, and do so for good reason. Below is a variety of responses to the subject of redeeming the season. From the discipline of simplicity, to uninhibited celebration, to refraining from celebrating, to celebrating another’s holyday for the purpose of cultural identification the subject is explored. Follow the links below to “Redeeming the Season.” For more holidays to consider see here

Recapturing the Spirit of Christmas at Adam Gonnerman’s Igneous Quill
Swords into Plowshares at Sonja Andrew’s Calacirian
Fanning the Flickering Flame of Advent at Paul Walker’s Out of the Cocoon
Lainie Petersen at Headspace
The Battle Rages at Bryan Riley’s Charis Shalom
Secularizing Christmas at JohnSmulo.com
There’s Something About Mary at Hello Said Jenelle
Geocentric Versus Anthropocentric Holydays at Phil Wyman’s Square No More
Celebrating Christmas in a Pluralistic Society at Matt Stone’s Journeys in Between
The Ghost of Christmas Past at Erin Word’s Decompressing Faith
Redeeming the season — season of redemption by Steve Hayes
Remembering the Incarnation at Alan Knox’ The Assembling of the Church
A Biblical Response to a Secular Christmas by Glenn Ansley’s Bad Theology
Happy Life Day at The Agent B Files
What’s So Bad About Christmas? at Julie Clawson’s One Hand Clapping