If we take the book of Matthew as it is, then the world as described by Jesus does not support the idea that humans are fragile creatures struggling for survival within a chance-based physical reality. Instead, the world as described by Jesus is dreamlike. Whatever we wish, we can have. Resources are readily provided for us. Money is available wherever we look. Sickness can be cured instantly. People can get along. All the goodness of life is at hand — we need only grasp it.
Jesus said that whatever we seek, we find — but if all we perceive is negativity, we’ll find it in abundance. Time and time again Jesus was confronted and confounded by those that refused to see the goodness of life, instead they reverted to a pessimistic outlook, believing existence to be a miserable experience filled with suffering. Eventually Jesus gave the people what they wanted, what they asked for — his departure. Apparently they couldn’t take his sunny disposition, they’d rather disparage and hate than appreciate and love.
I’m as guilty as the rest of them — I’m a hard-core naysaying pessimist — a hater extraordinaire. But I’m starting to appreciate how wrong I was. Any gift I’ve been given, I’d scrutinize, criticize, and let my suspicions run wild — never just a simple “thanks”. If I’m given something, it stirs feelings of anger and frustration and disappointment. Perhaps that’s why I never give things to other people, I’d just expect the same unappreciative attitude that I have.
And the same goes for the gift of life of course, I’ve done sooooooo much complaining about it. How could I be provided anything good in life, I’d simply rip it apart and remain paranoid about why I received it. Just as the crowd did, I choose Barabbas every damn day. “Torture the caring guy trying to help everyone!! Yeah! Get him outta my sight! Haha that pansy-ass! Free the bad-dude! Hell Yeah!” Every time I choose a bad attitude, adopt a pessimistic perspective, use an unkind word, focus on the worst aspects of a situation, ignore the great things around me, I choose Barabbas.
I guess I’m starting to feel ashamed about what a crappy guest I’ve been — I was graciously invited to the party, but I stood in the corner sulking while the host provided the best food and entertainment possible. At any attempt to coax me out, I hissed and cursed and held my ground. But I was never thrown out for my bad attitude. I was never denied the nourishment I needed, the clothes and shelter, nor even the slight companionship I’d accept into my tiny corner — I’ve always been looked after.
I recognize that I must drop my defensiveness. Life isn’t out to get me. And I realize that this isn’t the first time I’ve realized this — but I must make it a priority and make it stick this time. I thank Jesus for illustrating the importance of maintaining an appreciative and loving attitude. I also thank Jesus for explaining that the fundamental nature of the universe isn’t a crapshoot — I’m cared for, and I should care. And of course I thank the Creator for putting up with my nonsense and maintaining patience with me.
Jesus said that love-of-God and love-of-each-other are the greatest commandments — so in that vein, I love you, one and all. And I in return must receive love graciously. After Ebenezer Scrooge realized his lesson when the spirits visited him, he found out that Christmas wasn’t over yet, it wasn’t too late, he could right his wrongs and live out the rest of his life spreading Christmas cheer. I should be as ol’ Ebenezer, ready to spread the cheer, as well as receive it. As Tiny Tim said, “God Bless Us, Every One!”