Christmas (in Hindsight)  

Reminds Me of My Cat.

-an article for the January 2003 Deep Cove Crier

 Christmas always reminds me of my cat.  Now before you read any further I have two confessions to make.  First, I am well aware that it is now the middle of January and the last thing you want to be thinking about is Christmas.  Please understand , I am writing this article in the middle of December and so my thoughts are being consumed by Christmas.

 Second. I am a cat person, I admit it.  Cats are cute, entertaining, clean and for the most part self sufficient.  It is not that I do not like dogs ,  I just do not get dogs.  I donít get what they are all about.  This is beside the point though.  This article is not about why cats are better than dogs, (though they are), or why dogs might be better than cats.  Though an interesting note, I remember reading once a quote by Winston Churchill.  It seems one day while touring a farm in England he pronounced, "I do not like dog, because dogs look up to us.  I do not like cats, because cats look down on us.  But I like pigs, because pigs treat us as equals".  I donít know if that is true because I have never spent much time with pigs but if Churchill said it, it must be true.

 With those two confessing thoughts out of the way, you can now read on without distraction.  Christmas you see is suppose to mean something.  However each year it seems that Ďsomethingí gets lost in the shuffle.  With all the parties, presents, decorations, visiting friends and relatives, the special movies and special baking, the shopping and all the other busy stuff it is easy to get distracted.  Christmas started off so simple.  A few animals, some hay, a few unexpected guests and a young couple having a baby.  When was it I wonder that we moved from beautiful simplicity to marginally organized chaos?  The evolution of society, I suppose is to blame for it, societal evolution and the industrial revolution.  (But that is another article, let us not get distracted).

 Portia, (my cat), to the rescue.  Do you know what one of the greatest sounds in the world is?  No it is not boat anchors, plane engines and train whistles, to all you "Itís a Wonderful Life" fans out there.  It is the purr of a cat.

 The purr of a cat is an interesting thing.  I am told that scientists and other cat experts, (see vets), do not know how exactly cats purr, or even why they purr.  We know when they purr.  They purr either when they are very afraid or more often when they are comfortable and relaxed.  But the smart people in the world who are suppose to know this sort of thing do not understand why they purr.  What purpose does it serve?

 Well I am no Ďcatologistí or anything but I humbly summit my belief for why cats purr.  It is the same reason we have Christmas.  Clear enough?  Both remind us that God loves us.  That God cares about us and is not aloof some place in space having a good old time while we struggle through the challenges of life.

 What is one of the big criticisms against cats?  They are so remote, withdrawn and cool.  They donít really seem to care about you or even acknowledge your existence.  But when a cat jumps on to your lap and begins to purr, it is saying, I am completely relaxed and comfortable with you, I love you.  It just melts away whatever else has gone wrong that day.

 It does not matter how bad your day was, how many mistakes you made or how frustrated you are.  It also doesnít matter if you have had a great day, the type of day you wish you could relive again and again.  The purr of the cat says you are loved.  No conditions or strings attached.  Not because you are rich or poor, nice or mean, but just because you are.

 Christmas exists for the same reason, because you are loved.  Not by a distant far off God, and not because of who you are but because you are.  You are all created and loved by God and Christmas is Godís way of reminding you of that fact.

 So the next time you see a cat or one jumps on your lap and starts purring, remember you are loved.

Ken Bell,Youth Pastor with the Rev. Ed Hird.
St. Simonís Anglican Church, North Vancouver

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