Sometime during my elementary school years, my mom collected enough proof-of-purchase seals to send away for a Jolly Green Giant kite. Next to my Sprite race car, the Green Giant kite was the most amazing toy I remember getting from collecting box tops and such. Actually, now that I think about it the kite probably exceeds the Sprite car. The car never really ran consistently though it looked really sharp. The kite on the other hand needed only the slightest of breezes to take off into the sky. Before the Green Giant, I had never had much success with kites or found them to be much fun, but I still remember the thrill of that Green Giant kite soaring 150 to 200 feet into the sky.
I thought about that long ago Green Giant kite this week as I listened to Saul Griffith talk about the history of kites and their future. He believes that kites have the potential to be used in production of electricity. He and others have learned that the tallest windmills (300 feet) still do not reach high enough to harvest the best winds. A kite, Griffith believes, could be used to convert the energy in higher altitude winds into electricity. Get enough kites into the air and our need for electricity is satisfied. Granted, Griffith is not talking about kites the size of my old Green Giant kite. He envisions kites the size of 747’s or bigger. Here I thought a kite was just a kite, but he thinks it could be a way getting access to something most of us had not thought about or, if we had, thought it impractical or impossible.
While Griffith’s ideas about wind and energy exceed my ability to comprehend or imagine, I do find it fascinating to think about all that wind up there at higher altitudes that I did not know of before I heard Griffith’s talk. It makes me think of Christmas. There is so much for us in the Christmas event, more than most of us ever realize or think possible. Or if have thought about it and we do realize what God offers to us, we cannot wrap our minds around the idea of how to get our lives situated so that we are able to receive what God is giving to us.
The good news is that we do not have to ascend to heights exceeding 300 feet and maintain that altitude in order to find what God is giving to us. No, God is coming to us, to where we are. How do we receive the gift? How do we take hold of what God is giving us in a way that transforms our lives, converts us again into followers of Christ?
Would that receiving God’s gift to us were as simple as tying a string to kite and taking it outside on a windy day. Our lives are full of tasks that we must get done and all the more during the holiday season. Making time for God is difficult when other tasks press in upon us. Yet, God does not wish to be another chore on our list of things to do. God is coming to us, giving Godself to us so that we can know that we are loved and accepted by the one in whose image we are made.
How do we receive this gift? We receive it in many ways. It comes to us in stillness and silence. It arrives unexpectedly in an act of mercy. Through the discipline and preparation of a piece of music or a Christmas play it emerges. We find in the kinds words and gentle hugs of friends and family or rather it finds us. In worship, prayer, singing and host of other ways the gift of Christmas comes to us.
Is there more though that God would give us? More what? More peace, more joy, more love or more hope? Is their more of God that we can experience this Christmas? What would it mean for our lives to catch a new wind of God’s Spirit in our sails as we soar to never imagined heights?