Tell Me Again!

There seems to be a human built-in trait that thrives on repetition. We can track it all the way back to infancy, when a baby that can’t even speak knows how to make that anticipatory face for you to hide behind your hands for the thousandth time so they can crack up laughing at another “peek-a-boo.” Toddlers are infamous for saying, “Do it again!” My children, now older, love to return to some of our familiar vacation spots over and over. Although we mature in our preferences and amusements, adults still like some repetition in our lives. We even like to keep some of our childhood pleasures going. We call it nostalgia. That makes us feel a lot more psychologically sophisticated. Christmastime can bring out the irresistible nostalgic impulses in the best of us. My sister, Brooke, and I were talking about this over Thanksgiving. We were giggling because one of our must-have CDs for the holiday season is John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas. I have fond memories of that baby grooving from my parent’s eight-track player that take me back to the beginning of my childhood. It’s just not Christmas without a couple of rounds of Aspen Glow and Please, Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas. The funny part for us is what her husband, Justin, considers the ultimate Christmas CD: Manheim Steamroller. Heh? Our holiday traditions were obviously quite different. But they have learned to share their nostalgic-playing-time, equally infecting their poor children’s repertoire (to be fair, I should note that Justin and Brooke also play outstanding Christmas music that teaches their children far more about what we are remembering than Christmas for Cowboys). Along with John Denver, I also need brownie-pecan pie, buckeyes, peanut butter blossoms, real Christmas trees that we carefully hunt and chop down ourselves, multiple viewings of The Christmas Story, and to wake up at 6 A.M on Christmas morning. So there, if you suspected it before, yes, I am high maintenance. Thankfully, I can conjure up most of these recipes and observances myself. I’ve also heaped new traditions on top of these old ones that my children will be unable to fathom the Christmas season without. For them, they probably cannot remember a Christmas without hearing the A Charlie Brown Christmas Vince Guaraldi Trio while sipping on eggnog lattes. What do you infect your children with? Well there is one thing that we actually need to hear over and over. In fact, we need to hear it everyday, not just on annual holidays. This is the gospel, of course. Maybe part of our love for repetition is fashioned to point us to the greatest news that never gets old. In our human sinfulness and depravity, we constantly want to look to ourselves. We want to earn our own righteousness and hear our own praises. The good news actually tells us that we have offended our Creator, the holy God. Our sin separates us from him and deserves his eternal wrath. This pronouncement also proclaims a Savior, God’s own Son, who descended to earth, was born in a manger, fulfilled all righteousness, and bore our curse on a tree. Three days later, he rose again. After that, he ascended to the right hand of the Father as the advocate of all those who are united to him by faith. While we wait for his blessed return, we are given the seal of his Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Godhead, who transforms our heart, mind, and spirit, even as our bodies age and decay. But wait, there’s more! We now have peace with God, true joy based on the hope of our eternal abode with him, and true expectation for new incorruptible bodies that will be lived in perfect worship of our Savior on the new heavens and new earth. This saving announcement is not something I can find from an inner soul-searching. It is a revelation that I must hear announced to me. And to that I say, “Tell me again!”