This is the ass end of the ass mule that is poking his head through the window, checking out baby Jesus in the manger. at Temple Square.  It spoke to me.   To those of you that have felt like an outsider looking in on something important – Merry Christmas. In the gospel of St. Luke, it is said that the Pharisees were grilling Jesus on the exact locale of the kingdom of heaven:

When Jesus was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered,

The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

And he said unto his disciples,

“The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, which lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.”

(Luke 17:20-24)

I love the picture that Jesus paints here… I remember my days growing up in Logan. I had a favorite “thinking spot” in the foothills overlooking Cache Valley. I would go up there at night, sitting for hours, looking out at the town and imagining the world beyond the mountains that contained our home.  I’d go there to seek inspiration.  On many summer nights, I have watched the night sky come alive with lightning bolts.   Such is inspiration – it comes boldly, brilliantly, in unpredictable times and unpredictable places.  Nobody can give it to you, nobody can force it to happen.  All we can do is hold still and be ready for it.  If Jesus was indeed real, (and it doesn’t matter to me if he was or wasn’t, because his sayings are efficacious either way),  I believe that one of the key things he was trying to communicate to people was this: how to be inspired.

“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”
-Anais Nin

I believe we are all thirsty for the marvelous. I believe Jesus discovered the marvelous and tried to tell the rest of us about it. He was trying to tell us to look INSIDE for the glorious. Today, as people celebrate the birth of Jesus, Let’s keep in mind some of his best advice:

Don’t be an ass.
Go not after them.
The kingdom of God is within YOU.

It is my deepest hope that in 2012 you will find more and more of the marvelous flashes of light.

Much love –

Paul Duane

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