They say elephants never forget; I think the same may be true of cats.
A friend of mine recently downsized by moving into the lower level of her own home and renting out the upstairs.
She’s perfectly happy with the arrangement. One of her cats, however, is not.
This cat remembers that he once had the run of the entire house. He still recalls that there was a wonderful place called Upstairs.
Despite having lots of room to roam downstairs, including access to a big backyard, this cat keeps trying to break into the upper level of the house. I’m told he meows plaintively at the connecting door between the two units, and tries to pry it open with his paw.
This cat knows that there’s something missing in his life. Even though Downstairs is perfectly nice, he still feels the ache to be Upstairs once again.
I think many of us know the feeling.
We have an innate sense that this world is not as it should be.
It’s broken in some way: there’s something missing.
Humans seem to have a mysterious longing for a world set right. We ache for it, even though we haven’t experienced it.
What’s your favourite Christmas carol?
“Jingle Bells” seems to be at the top of many lists of the top Yuletide songs. It’s catchy, kids love it, and it puts people in a cheery mood.
Or perhaps you’re more partial to “Silent Night”? I don’t blame you—it’s a beautiful classic.
The honour of the best-selling Christmas single would have to go to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas.” And with good reason—how can you not love this song?
(I’m hoping that your favourite Christmas number isn’t “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” If it is, I’m not sure we can be friends.)
As for me, my favourite carol is “Hark The Herald Angels Sing,” with lyrics by Charles Wesley and a rousing melody by Felix Mendelssohn.
This hymn is not only enjoyable to sing, it’s also richly loaded with Biblical truths. It starts out this way:
“Hark! The herald angels sing:
‘Glory to the new-born king
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled.’ “
The angels are celebrating the inauguration of a new Kingdom featuring world-wide peace and the reconciliation of humanity to its creator.
But wait a minute: aren’t the angels jumping the gun in this account?
God and sinners wouldn’t be reconciled until decades later in Jesus’ life, at the Cross.
And since Jesus was born the world hasn’t had a year without war somewhere or other. Where is the peace the carol describes?
Aren’t the angels being a bit premature in celebrating?
Not at all.
When I was a little girl, I loved to explore in the woods.
One day I came across a cicada clinging to a tree trunk. Except this insect didn’t look alive: its body was transparent, and it never moved.
What was wrong with the cicada, I wondered?
I finally realized that I wasn’t looking at a live bug, but rather at its discarded exoskeleton.
When it’s time for a nymph cicada to turn into an adult, it clings to a tree and sheds its outer body. The abandoned shell remains, still clinging to the bark of the tree, while the “reborn” cicada flies off.
My mistake that day?
I was looking for the living among the dead.
Some of the Jesus’ followers made the same error.