This may seem a very strange blog to write the day after the House formally Impeached the President of the United States, but I’m hoping, no matter whose side you are on, that you will try to see it in the better light of the Holiday Season.
Even before yesterday, I was having a very difficult time getting excited about Christmas. Beyond my personal difficulties with the season in general, this has been an extraordinarily difficult time for our nation and doesn’t look to be getting better any time soon. What are we to do?
I recently heard a fellow from Gallup comment that for the past fifty years, as Americans, our trust in almost everything has been steadily declining – in our government institutions, our educational institutions, our business practices, our news media, our financial institutions and our trust in one-another. That certainly didn’t help my mood, but it did get me to thinking. Why don’t we trust each other as we once did?
Depending on who you ask, you get a different answer. Republicans blame Democrats. Democrats blame Republicans, and Independents blame both. African Americans blame Whites. A lot of Americans blame Immigrants. Everyone blames everyone for soaring health care costs. The young blame the old, and the old blame the young. People scream at store clerks and throw stones at our police. We're all destroying our planet. Christians blame Muslims. Muslims blame Jews, and a few even blame God.
When my son, Mattie, was alive, he loved Christmas. He didn’t really understand Christ or what it was all about, and he could have cared less about presents. But he could see and feel a change in the world during the Christmas Season. He would sit for hours just staring at the tree and listening to music. A patient calm would always enter him during the season as he seemed to understand but couldn’t, or maybe he did on some level. In any event, during the Christmas Season in some spiritual way he seemed whole.
People profoundly affected by autism experience the world differently than you and I. They take-in information at a much faster rate. They combine emotion with visual and other sensory stimuli, and jam it together to make it into their truth. I could never quite understand what Mattie’s spiritual understanding was, but he had one. Maybe he could put things together on a level that I couldn’t. Time and again, he would respond to things beyond my ability to grasp. I prayed to get a glimpse of what he saw. I wanted to share with him my love of Christ, but maybe he understood more than I did. Ultimately, I had to rely on my faith that God had reached him in a way that I never could.
You may be wondering what our declining trust and remembrances of my son have to do with each other. Well, you see Mattie was bombarded with conflicting information that he could not process ever day of his life. It was frustrating for him and for everyone around him, but during the Christmas Season, he seemed to find peace. Christmas magic gave him trust that the world around him would be okay, even when it didn’t seem so to him.
From the dawn of humanity, isn’t that the exact question that troubles us all? Does any of this make sense, or are we just hurtling toward oblivion? Christmas answered that for my Mattie more than any other epiphany of his life. So, no matter how ridiculous it all may seem right now, no matter how frightening or overblown, if we really try during this time of God and Christ, we can find each other again.