What a year we have had, you and I. What a year for this, our shrinking world still fighting the fights of ages long past, when the other side of the world was as familiar as Mars—who, for the most part, was a god rather than a planet. (Or a really good symphony piece.)
I went to see Lincoln yesterday. If you’ve not yet seen it, Reader, I do recommend doing so. The Oscar buzz is well-earned by Daniel Day-Lewis, and while I won’t say that this was the best film I’ve seen ever or even this year, I will say it is brilliantly understated and very thought-provoking, which is high praise from me.
The movie centers on the passage of the 13th Amendment to the American Constitution, which may seem a little out of place to a country with a recently re-elected black president—or it may seem perfectly in place to those who attempt to draw parallels to the gay rights movement. I wish to engage neither of these ends and instead focus on the fact that the film was named, simply, “Lincoln.”
When I was in college, I had the opportunity to meet quite a few Big Names of the west—Jane Goodall, Bill Nye, Woody Harrelson, and Sylvester McCoy, among many others. What I found most delightful about this was not OMG Meeting Famous People, but that they were very much people, just being themselves. We have this odd, very human tendency to take those of us who succeed or excel at something and put them on thrones carved from our own hopes and fears and jealousies and exaltations. We forget—willingly—that they are also navigating this mess of life one day at a time.
I like that “Lincoln” reminds us. Abraham Lincoln is far and away an American fascination, an enigma about whom we love to theorize in each new film and biography. Yet he was a man who fought with his wife, who didn’t always do right by his kids, who got cold in the winter and wet in the rain, who told rambling anecdotes to prove points all the time (which, considering how often I do that myself, I had far less of a problem with than his fellow politicians), who loved and hated and cursed when angry. He is a historical giant, a legend—and yet he lived, and died, as the rest of us do.
As we approach 2013, I can’t help wondering what it will bring to match the chaos of 2012. And yet each year is just a year, is it not? In each, there are triumphs, battles, upheavals, changes. In 2013, relationships will change, jobs will be gained and lost, loved ones will die and be born, and God will be in the middle of all of that. It will be a year, and a totally unpredictable one at that. I have honestly no clue what 2013 will look like for me, and you may be rather uncertain yourself—but it will come, just the same, and we will navigate it one day at a time.
May you recognize God with you in this navigation, Reader. May His Presence remind you that you are a human, and nothing more than one of many—but also, nothing less than an incredible possibility for legend.
And Jesus answered [and] said to them, “Watch out that no one deceives you! For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will deceive many. And you are going to hear about wars and rumors of wars. See to it that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:4-6, LEB)