What do you stay awake for?
Caribou Coffee's been stealing from the Gospel of Matthew.
Really -- they have. Check it out: Matthew 24:42 -- "Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your LORD is coming.” It's probably an occupational hazard that I read a coffee cup and think of Jesus, but still....
Truth be told, they haven't been stealing, but they've tapped into something that we all know -- the fact that many of us feel like there isn't a whole lot to stay awake for. During this Advent season we are urged to stay awake, to look for life!
I probably over analyze things, although I like to think it's looking for a deeper meaning, but as I looked at that coffee sleeve, urging me to stay awake for life, I thought: "Isn't that an interesting dichotomy (yes, I actually thought that word -- dichotomy. I like it, much of life is such dichotomy) if there's so much to stay awake for, why do I even need this hyped-up caffeinated beverage?”
As many of you know, I drink more Diet Mountain Dew than possibly any other person on the planet. I like my caffeine. So, the more I've been thinking about this coffee sleeve, the more I've wondered, do we need the caffeine to stay awake for life?
Because if we do, then we are in trouble.
Trouble may not be the right word, but you know, life itself is enough to stay awake for. There are amazing things happening and coming, but we don't see them sometimes. At least I know I miss amazing things on a daily basis. Maybe we are too numbed out on caffeine, I don't know.
The reason I liked the question, "What do you stay awake for?" so much is because it points to what Matthew doesn't say.
If I could rewrite Matthew, which would probably get me in loads of trouble with Bible translators, I would add to that piece, "Therefore, keep awake, because there's much to blow your mind going on out in the world. You certainly don't want to miss it." I'd probably need to add some more "therefores” and "art thous” and "thys.”
Matthew reminds us to stay awake. And Matthew says that the Lord is coming, so we should stay awake for that, but he doesn't ask us: What's so compelling about your life that you would want to stay awake through all hours of the night without the added assistance of caffeine?
So... what do you stay awake for?
Matthew would say, stay awake for Jesus. So would I, but I would add this one caveat -- how?
If it's not the caffeine that's getting me through life, then what is?
I stay awake for:
• crisp morning runs that clear my head
• kisses from boys who don't care they've been throwing up for three days
• hand holding
• texts from friends that make me laugh out loud
• small gifts that make a big difference
• pre-school kids who hug me tight
• smiles from strangers who receive an invitation
• Christmas lists
There are more, to be sure, but those are the things I've stayed awake for today (and I've only be awake for seven hours).
I stay awake for those things, because I see God in them.
I see the person of Jesus in smiles, in tears, in touches. Honestly, there is something saving in those for me -- something Jesus-like.
Something realer than real.
I'm not inspired by the perfect cup of coffee, but I am inspired by the perfect imperfectness of Jesus.
And I don't need caffeine to keep me awake for that. I know there are people who read this blog who aren't sure if they believe in God, and I guess I stay awake a lot because of that because I once heard someone say, "If you've ever wondered about Jesus, about life after death, I'm here to tell you there's nothing truer in the universe. That's my job."
I stay awake because I know that to be true.
What do you stay awake for?
Think about it.
And then really stay awake for it, because it will be there that you will meet Jesus.
Originally posted Dec. 2, 2010, at Tiny Dart Frog. Republished with permission of the author. Find a link to Christine Stephan’s blog Tiny Dart Frog at Lutheran Blogs.