"Good Not Great"
The movie “Scrooged”, starring Bill Murray, is one of my favorite Christmas movies. It’s based on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol--with a twist. At the end of the movie, Bill Murray delivers a passionate monologue about Christmas--taking on sort of the role of Scrooge at the end of “A Christmas Carol”. And during the monologue, he goes over and kisses a random woman who is standing under a mistletoe. It’s quite a kiss. And after the kiss, Bill Murray’s character says, “That was good. That was good. But it wasn’t great.” It’s a great line. The great kiss is the kiss from the love of his life--his beloved. That is great. That’s a great kiss.
I think it is a good line for our Christian lives. That was good. But it wasn’t great. The more we mature in our faith--and I am realizing this personally as I grow up--the more we realize that life here on earth is good, but it’s not great. There is something else that’s great.
I have talked to many elderly people who are ready to die. They are waiting to die. Many of them have lived a good life. And they’re tired of it. They are ready to move on to the great life which lies ahead.
As we mature, the tinsel and the Christmas lights, the silver and gold, lose some of their luster. We are no longer the wide-eyed children who are thrilled to see the neatly wrapped presents underneath the tree on Christmas morning. As we mature, the more we see that this is good, but it’s not great. As we grow older, the more realize that Christmas is more than presents and trees. Each year, I realize this a little bit more.
This does not mean that we should lose any of our childlike wonder and awe. Quite the contrary. As we mature, we should wonder more and awe more. We do wonder less about how the presents got there, but we wonder more about how God got here. And that God wants to be here...in this place which is good, but not great. And that God wants us to be with him. We, who are good, very good in fact, but not great. We’re small. We’re weak. We’re sinners. And yet God wants us. God has chosen us. That’s wonderful. And that’s awesome. As we mature, we are less enthralled with the Magic of Christmas, and more captivated by the Mystery of Christmas.
And as we mature, the more and more we long for the kiss of our beloved. Our bodies begin to waste away, and we begin to lose our longing for the kiss of the world. We long for that kiss of heaven. That eternal kiss, which is great. Not simply good, but great.
This reflection was originally published in a spiritual reflection book for the Advent Album in 2013.