Print of Atlas – D’aulaires’ Book Of Greek Myths
“God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day. To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray. Oh, tidings of comfort and joy…” – Old English Traditional Carol in the Roxburghe Collection – 18th Century.
As I write this, it is Christmas night in north Texas. As you read this, wrappings, ribbons and bows are bagged up and carted away to the dumpster. Some, not many, will drag their Christmas trees out to the curb to be recycled tonight. Christmas 2017 is in our history now. Or, is it?
I just returned home from a three week stay in the hospital, now recovering from a quadruple bypass open heart surgery. The surgery was successful, but my weak kidneys suffered in the process as well as dealing with anemia due to an unexpected low blood count. My rehab and recovery will take a few months. As a side effect of the ailing kidney dysfunction, I have extra fluid in my tissues that needs to be taken off the body. It literally has not only caused swelling in my frame, but has added extra body weight. After surgery I became the Puff Marshmallow Man. Coupled with inactivity and being anemic, I feel the extra poundage as I am learning to walk again in a walker just traveling from one room to the next. I KNOW it would be a lot easier to maneuver rehab if I didn’t have this extra water weight hanging on my body. Envision water balloons draping off your shins and shoulders. It slows me way down. In the end, it exhausts me as my energy quickly depletes. Yet, I am grateful just to be here typing away with you.
I thought of the Greek Myth of Atlas. As the myth has it, he was condemned to carry the weight of the heavens on his shoulders for eternity. Now, THAT will slow you down. There’s a terrific sculpture of him holding up the universe on his shoulders in the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples. (Great artwork. He just needs some pants.)
Similarly, because we chose to be law-breakers from the beginning, going against God’s authentic standard of righteousness, we carry the weight of our wrong-doing. Maybe you’ve not killed someone or robbed a bank, but you have told a lie, rebelled, or had a bad thought that would condemn you in a Holy court to come. Small sin, or large sin, it is what it is. We step on God’s law each and every day. Still, we carry that baggage, just like extra fluid in the body, or like Atlas condemned to hold up the universe on his shoulders without a break.
Christmas is when the True Condemner, the Judge and Jury reached out toward our exhaustion, in love and compassion, as we fail to carry about our poundage of sins, and offers eternal rest. The manger scene in the Bible is all about lifting your burden of wrong-doing, not just now, and tomorrow, but FOREVER! Who wouldn’t want to be released from the trillions of tons of personal guilt? Ask Atlas if he would like for the true God to come and take the weight of the world off his shoulders and onto Himself. I think we would hear a resounding, “YES!”…in Greek of course. We tend to ignore the pain, shame, emptiness and utter sadness we are haunted by, when it comes to this birth defect in our spiritual DNA. Unnecessary! Much like stopping debt, a personal decision must be made.
Unfortunately, the older we grow, the less we think about it. The older we grow the more we become adjusted to the bowling balls we drag around in our personal backpack. The older we grow the more we are blinded by the fact we must have that weight in the tissues of our soul/spirit removed. The gate of heaven is way too narrow for it all.
So, before this Christmas season is totally gone, ask the Giver of the Gift for forgiveness and rest from the trail of sin-scrape you leave behind.
We strayed from God’s perfect design for life. The struggle continues in the here and now, and in eternity, after this body is drained of life. However, Christmas came delivering the best news ever……“God rest ye merry gentlemen. Let nothing you dismay. REMEMBER Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day…..”
“Come to Me, all those toiling and being burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Jesus – Matt 11:29. (BLBV)