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I'm trying to remember Jesus. Not that I've ever really forgotten him. But there once was a time when he was my first and highest thought.
There once was a time when my relationship with him took priority and precedence over everything else.
Somewhere, sometime, somehow in the past 30 years I pushed him aside, although that sounds harsh, a violent, one-time shove.
I think it was more of a gradual crowding out by all the other stuff in my life, like a well-worn pair of pants that gets relegated to the back of the closet. Not tossed out, just pushed aside.
I'm trying to remember Jesus - his compassion for the immoral woman with whom he talked so kindly yet so pointedly one hot afternoon at a well in ancient Samaria.
I'm trying to remember Jesus, like the time he commanded the raging wind to be quiet and it was, and how he calmed both the violent storm and his terrified disciples and all the times he's calmed me.
I'm trying to remember Jesus and how he raised the dead only son of a poor widow woman and the time he brought a little girl back to life and cast demons out of a man and made a blind man see.
The one who said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest," and who said, "Take heart; your sins are forgiven" - I'm trying to remember him and all that he said when he was here on earth.
I'm trying to remember how he opened my eyes to my need, how he caused me to see my great sin and his greater mercy and helped me desire and then accept his gift of grace.
I'm trying to remember the moment he bid, "Seek my face," and my heart answered, "Your face, Lord, I will seek."
I'm trying to remember being in love with him and wanting everyone I knew to be in love with him, too, to the point of obnoxiousness. Love turns people into fools, and I'm trying to remember being a fool for Christ, speaking his name with every breath, wanting to be with him every day, every hour, every minute.
It's there, the memory. It's tugging at my consciousness. As I sit in my chair reading, as I roam the mall, as I work and cook and pump gas in my car, as I fold laundry and exercise at the gym, as I climb into bed at night, the memory...
He was there all along. Even when I didn't know him, he knew me.
He knew the overweight girl, the lonely teen, the frightened young woman. He was there, in the background.
I'm trying to remember, afraid to forget - I don't want to forget.
I don't know when it happened, when Jesus became less than first and only. I only know that he has.
I've seen the bumper stickers and the lapel pins lately, reminding me that Jesus is the reason for the season.
I haven't forgotten that. I just haven't remembered. Or, I've remembered, but not well. Not to the point of forgetting all else, of putting the reason before the season and all its trappings and demands and hustle and bustle.
But it's Christmas and I'm trying hard to remember Jesus, to think about how he set aside his glory and entered the world as a helpless human, to remember his poverty, the lowliness he chose to endure - all because he remembered me.
Because he remembered me, he suffered. He died.
Because he remembered me, he was buried. He rose.
He remembered me from before the beginning, remembered me all through my life, and even if I try to forget him, I can't.
I'm remembering him now, maybe not with the same fervency I once had, but the remembrance is stirred. I'm remembering him because he first remembered me.
I remember Jesus.