Entropy is nature’s tendency toward disintegration. It’s considered a law. What it means is that no present will wrap and slide itself under the Christmas tree for you. No relationships will grow without you tending them. No love will remain unless you stoke its flames. And no pendulum will swing forever.
Greater order will not, and cannot, arise out of chaos. Goodness does not come out of brokenness. Brokenness may be redeemed through sorrow and repentance into something more beautiful (sounds a lot like the Christmas story), but wholeness never comes through separation, and all the world is bent toward separation. I need look no further than my own heart to stimmy the denial of this truth.
The trouble with reality is that it has so many hard edges. It’s rough to hold onto, and if we cling too closely, it draws blood. Makes it easy to set it down and walk away. But what do we have to replace it? Illusions. And while we study illusions, what happens to the rest of us? We fall apart.
Some days I wake up feeling tired and drained, as if all the world is colored grey and all the flavors have blended to bland. No excitement remains, just a hollow buzz, a droning flat-line devoid of peaks and valleys.
Every great saint who wrote candidly of their life admitted significant time periods where they were stuck in a malaise. Mother Theresa battled severe depression. Martin Luther submitted himself to self-flagellation (whippings) in hopes he could atone for his inner darkness and rid himself of deep guilt. Augustine and many others experienced prolonged periods of doubt and emotional pain.
Why? Because we are all human beings subject to the law of entropy. Our bodies and souls, because of the curse, are all set down a course toward disintegration, breakdown. Some days our bodies betray us. Some days, when the sun is shining and all is well, our souls don’t agree with the weather or our pocketbook.
But the Christmas season is a time for re-centering perspective. It’s the end of a year and the beginning of another. In all the busy-ness, all the work we put ourselves to (shoveling endless snow, enduring frostbite on our fingertips while trying to hang thousands of decorations no one really looks at anyways, not to mention buying gifts for second-cousins twice removed), in the end it’s a chance to remember the reason we exist.
Christmas is Christmas because roughly two thousand years ago a man was born from a virgin, lived a perfect life, gave himself to a brutal death as a ransom for the world, then rose from the dead after three days of rotting in a tomb. He did that to redeem me and you, to reverse the curse that destroyed our purpose for existing—which is to worship God and enjoy him forever. Nothing else matters if we lose sight of this truth.
Christmas has nothing to do with giving gifts or being happy, so we have no reason to beat ourselves up if we’re feeling depressed or don’t receive any mail this season. What Christmas does have everything to do with is God breathing life into dead (and dying) bones. That’s the most amazing story, ever. Period. And the more we focus on Christ’s sacrifice, his love for us, his gift to us, the more the color seeps back into our vision.
God is the only cure for spiritual entropy.
Wherever you’re at this season, whether you’re ecstatic to be with family, or grieving the loss of a loved one, this is a time to re-center our perspective on Jesus. To rededicate our lives to our Savior. To give up our fears and anxieties, our hopes and dreams, and bowing our will to his.
I do hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. But mostly I hope you rest joyfully in Jesus.
Peace and blessings,