Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).
Dissatisfaction drives us.
How do you want your life to change? Another job with less drudgery and more opportunities to shine? A spouse or lover more attractive and attuned to your needs? Something positive from the news media? A smaller waistline?
Dissatisfaction with things-as-they-are keeps stirring the human spirit. Indeed, this dissatisfaction hums constantly like a heater on a cold December day, so steady that we mistake it for silence until it stops. It is the negative charge in the magnetic field of motivation, and the positive charge comes from the object of our desire.
Objects of our strongest desires have faces.
We seek a person, someone to fix things, make them better, someone with a face that looks into ours with assurances of care and protection.
Once upon a time, no kings ruled ancient Israel, just the invisible, silent Holy One who freed them from slavery and made a covenant of love with them and charged them to light the world’s way to peace. But in their freedom, possibilities for a still better, more secure life stirred their restlessness.
So they appealed to the unseen God for a visible king, a human being with a face, a warrior who would protect them, a judge who would govern them with equity. Through the prophet Samuel, God warned that such a human leader would exploit them more than help them. But the people persisted in their plea, and God reluctantly relented.
Of course, most kings did just as the prophet predicted. Fast forward about three millennia to today, and here we go again. Pity the poor fool who places their hopes in our elected officials.
Where do we turn now with our dissatisfaction?
History books catalog the cyclical rise and fall of charismatic strong men with shards of broken promises scattered everywhere. But most real history does not make it to the books. It plays out on the ground where the lowly dwell.
The One whose face we seek appears among common folk who have more than their share of problems. This One who came among us as an utterly dependent baby in a cold, smelly stable rules reality, presides over the real history of the world. And in him we have hope.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6, KJV).
Oddly, this story made it to the books. Still, our dissatisfaction continues, and as long as we turn to rulers and domination systems for security, dissatisfaction will morph into despair. But the humble who seek the face of the Beloved Son in unlikely places already know the answer to perpetual dissatisfaction. For them, Christmas is more than just a day. It is a life.
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