Something to Believe
"A kind of hope mixed with despair." It's a line from my first attempt at a "Christmas" song, it's a cocktail I know all too well, and my guess is I'm not the only one out there who imbibes. Christmastime is inherently hopeful for me, but I don't often do all out joy in my interior life. I'm just not that confident in my understanding of the world. I do "hesitantly hopeful" (thanks for that, Sean). My wife once said of me that where other people run from darkness, I like to face it head on, I even dig down into it. I think that's true. I remember writing something years ago about how the devil doesn't scare me. That's not true, of course, but I guess I have always figured that if you can walk into the darkness and catch even a glimpse of what it really is, you can steal some of it's power.
If you know my writing, you might know that I love to take old stories and re-purpose them. I started fooling around with this set of chords, and this bell-like guitar part and instantly connected it with the Magi in the Gospels. What if one of the "Three Kings" had lost something deeply important. Something existential. A sense of destiny is pulling him toward something that the others are saying is a light. A sign of hope. But he's so disoriented by his loss that he can't see it for what it is. Neil Degrasse Tyson says, "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it." Well, I believe that's true for the light too.
Sometimes you've been pulled so far into the darkness (or you've just been there so long) that even the star pointing the way out looks like just another point on the map of hell. Trust me, the light is there whether or not you really see it. If you really let yourself listen, you can almost hear it. If you can hear it, you're not far from feeling it, and when you feel it, you're steps away from seeing it. You'll still have a tough journey in front of you, but at least you can start to see the way out.
That's what I believe, that's all I really need. My prayer this Christmas is that you find what you need.