12.28.2010

tiny people don't need scarves

My three year-old cousin informed me this weekend that "Tiny people don't need scarves." When he told me, he used his "Matter of Fact" face where he rolls his eyes over to the right corners of the lids and and slightly cocked his jaw to the left.

Duh, people.  Tiny people don't need scarves.

They don't have much of a neck to keep warm and fashion is not the concern of tiny people.  Cowboy boots and train sets occupy the minds of tiny people. At least tiny people of the male variety. I think the female kind focus on princess power or something. Scarves are clearly a sign of lost perspective.

Being around a tiny person gives this not-so-tiny person some perspective on more than just scarves.

First of all, sentimentality is for suckers. After Christmas dinner, we watched a family video from Christmas 1984 in which The Cabbage Patch Dolls came to town. Watching my toddlerself argue with my family about my doll's name was hilarious to everyone over the age of three.  The three year-old can't stand to watch it because it hits far too close to home. He has to argue with adult every day just to get a little extra playtime with the train set.

Second of all, words have lost their meaning. The tiny person in my family has a nasty habit of saying, "I don't like you" when he's not getting his way. Except that it rarely garners the reaction he desires. We laughed at him and said, "Too bad." And then he went to his room for time out. I wonder what would happen if I adopted his tactics with the not-so-tiny people in my life.  Especially if I pronounced it like a tiny person, "I don wike you." Maybe if I furrowed my brow, they'd know I meant business.

Lastly, despite the tendency of in some Christian Christmas conversation, I think family is the focus of the holidays. In the incarnation of God in the Christchild, humanity was given a new meaning, a new hope, a realization of forgiveness and mercy. Tiny people bring new meaning, hope, and mercy into many families. When my cousin was born, our family was freshly grieving the loss of my grandmother--the most recent of many significant losses. Our losses weren't punctuated with hopeful happenings, but took on the character of a firing range, one after another after another. His arrival was the signpost of change (albeit, surprising and challenging to his parents). Family is a place where we experience grief, hope, anger, and joy in its most carnal forms. It's only natural that we celebrate the Incarnation of our Savior with our family.

Even those horrid pagan celebrations that drum up all the enthusiasm for the presents, pie, and jolly elving remind the observers that there is more to being human than food and stuff. We are beckoned home for the holidays, to be with faithful friends, to put aside our failures to be perfect (namely, in the form of a nose so bright) to stick a hand out to someone in need. The underlying current, despite its commercial wrappings, is the hope for new meaning and forgiveness. Sometimes the wrapping is distracting, but the tiny person in my life reminds me that mostly it's a vehicle to get me home.

Home for the holidays is so much more than a place, a theological idea, or a group of people. It is a scarf-less place where everyone is warm and free of fashionable concerns. When we are home, our tiny hearts are filled with hope, convinced that we are loved by someone much greater than us.

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