Hey friends! I’m Micah, a single 30-something physician, animal lover, gamer, and Star Wars fan. I enjoy both playing and watching a variety of sports, which I’ve found is not overly common in this YOB community. As an Enneagram 5, I’m passionate about discovering the truth of God’s Word, including how best to live an abundant Christian life in the face of challenges related to faith and sexuality.
When we are born we are swaddled and suckled,
Whispered to, fussed over, tickled and cuddled.
When we grow up, things get muddled . . .
These are the opening lines to the song “Here It Is Christmastime,” as performed by Kevin Bacon and the Old 97’s on The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
When I first sat to enjoy what I thought would be a 44-minute escape from the cares of this life into a comedic intergalactic holiday caper, little did I know I’d still be pondering the insight of this musical number a day later.
I will admit that I tend to be a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. In my adult past, Christmas has always been a season in which my singleness magnifies, the loneliness increases, and any spiritual appreciations get drowned out by the commercialized expectations to somehow produce the perfect gifts for relatives with whom I’ve grown increasingly distanced — both from their current interests or their needs.
Each Christmas, I tend to look at each of my relatives’ families and feel like my sexuality has left me very alone. Somehow, though, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Kevin Bacon teamed up to reinvigorate Christmas. Both for Star-Lord and myself.
How was this past Christmas reinvigorated for me? Well, this song helped clarify the good parts of my sexuality related to human touch, deeply rooted in the natural instinct common to all humans since birth. I was born with a longing to be comforted, to be held, to be swaddled, to be cuddled.
As I’ve aged, those same good touch instincts were partially absorbed by my sexuality, and now they’re muddled.
As a post-pubescent male, my longing for physical affection is no longer solely about love, comfort, care, and protection. It now can include a desire for sexual gratification. I can’t escape the cognitive dissonance which informs me that my pure instincts for physical affection with other men are now muddled by the dark desires I possess to allow things to go too far.
While I recently enjoyed some “bro cuddling” with a clear conscience of its innate goodness, the knowledge of my capacity and desire for sin prevented perfect relaxation and enjoyment of that activity with another brother.
Just as Adam lost his innocence after taking that first bite from the forbidden fruit, my desire for physical expressions of love is now muddled by my sexual brokenness. I can no longer seek physical expressions of love without at least acknowledging the pesky parts of my sexuality that complicate my desires.
The innocent part of me desires and enjoys the continued demonstration of comfort, love, and care through physical expressions of love that I enjoyed as a baby and child.
A part of me I keep hidden from most of the world would admit I desire those physical expressions of love almost exclusively from other men; the deepest, darkest part of me would admit sometimes I desire much more than just innocent physical touch.
My innocence has escaped me.
But it will return.
This past Christmas, I’ve been reminded that over 2,000 years ago, my Creator humbled Himself to experience human life firsthand. I’m reminded that Jesus knows what it’s like to be a baby who was swaddled and suckled, whispered to, fussed over, tickled and cuddled, and yet He also knows what it’s like to be a 33-year-old man who enjoys the physical comfort of another man’s head resting on His chest.
I’m reminded that Jesus knows the human experience, and Jesus knows me.
I’m sure Jesus knows what it’s like to experience societal ridicule for being a single adult virgin. I’m positive Jesus knows what it’s like to experience loneliness, the loss of friends, betrayal of those you love, condemnation of innocent thoughts and actions by both religious and secular onlookers, and unmet desires for love, touch, and connection.
According to Hebrews 4:15, Jesus even knows what it’s like to experience all my temptations — yet without sin. Most importantly, I’m reminded that Jesus atoned for all my brokenness through His voluntary death on the cross, simply because He loves me and desires to spend eternity with me in heaven.
My sexuality gives me an intense longing for heaven. This baby we celebrate at Christmas now sits on a throne and will “make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). One day my brokenness will be gone, and I will once again become innocent like a baby.
For all eternity, I will be able to give and experience perfect love. I will be able to embrace or cuddle another human with no suspicion, fear, temptation, self-loathing, or regret.
Most lovely of all, I can experience that same physical intimacy with the One who designed me to crave it — the perfect brother, Jesus Christ. Revelation 3:21 alludes to this concept, and it is beautiful:
The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
I had some but not every physical longing met this Christmas due to my sexual brokenness. However, those unmet longings direct my mind to appreciate the gift of Jesus even more. He became a baby so that I can spend all eternity with Him in perfect love.
While I may not yet be made new, I can look forward to eternity and the realization that God still loves me as much now in my sexual brokenness as He will in my future perfection. God’s love compels Him to meet all my needs.
The baby needs love, needs physical contact, needs reassurance that he is not alone. The adult me is not too different, and the God who became man loves me and will continue to provide for those needs in His perfect wisdom.
Do you struggle with the tension in this human need for and also boundaries surrounding same-sex physical touch? How did you emotionally or relationally experience this past Christmas?