What did a homosexual teach me about Christmas?
A Christian himself, he wrote to his friend and penned these words:
“What I cannot imagine, what causes me to wince in terror, is the thought of being celibate in my 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and beyond. Perhaps I lack your restraint or contentment for celibacy. Perhaps I’ve not experienced the relational support to joyfully pursue a vocation of celibacy. Whatever the case, I’m profoundly restless; so restless it feels that at times I’m suffocating under the burden of it. Call it weakness. I just need to be needed. And not needed by a friend who closes the distance with a phone call, a drive, or a flight. I need to be needed by a companion who is there when I return from work, there when I walk in a park, there when I prepare a meal for dinner, there when I read from a book out loud, there when I go to bed, there when I wake up, there when I cry or laugh, there when I’m sick. In short, I desire a covenantal relationship where my partner and I witness each other’s moments of being. Otherwise, I dread the thought of having those moments forever unwitnessed. Sure, God witnesses my moments of being, but that’s not enough. I need the face of God in a watchful and loving human face. ”
Sometimes whose who are deprived of a gift are more able to put into words what it means to have that gift. I liken it to John Milton after he lost his sight when he said (paraphrase): when I consider how my light is spent for the first half of my lifetime, and this gift of sight now dead to me, my soul is more bent to see and serve my God therewith. Milton’s poetry, for those who read it now, clarifies for us what light really is, and what seeing really is.
And, this homosexual man deprived of his proper gift, has awakened in me an awareness of humanity’s longing ever since the days of Adam in the garden. If Adam truly and literally walked with God in the cool of the day, then it was Jesus that walked with him. Many scholars have thought this. If that is so, then the first face that he saw as his human soul was brought into being, was the face of God in a watchful and loving human face.
After the fall, mankind lost that closeness but still longed for it; and after losing knowledge of God altogether, invented the gods of imagination to fill that role in their lives. As Arthur Golding in Metamorphoses said (paraphrase):
The pagans did not know God: This caused them to bestow the name of gods on creatures. For their nature being corrupted; and their knowledge blinded by Adams fall, those little seeds and sparks of heavenly light that did as yet remain in man, endeavored forth to burst, and wanted grace and power to grow. The pagans were too superstitious to let that spark die, and drove their fearful minds into strange worship of the living God in the creatures they could find or imagine.
History testifies to a great many invented gods who became the answer to many unexplained events and phenomena that confronted the people of the past who walked in darkness. They still wanted to see God in a watchful and loving human face. But, somewhere in the midst of the thousands of gods incorporated by the Roman empire and the fruitless religious searching that they tried, in a small obscure town in Bethlehem, God answered that call. The years of searching had finally come to an end. The God of the universe was revealed in a watchful and loving human face, the face of Jesus. This is the gift of Christmas.