Wednesday, November 20, 2013

holiday confusion

Sometimes I hesitate to write here in this space because I feel like I have nothing to say. Nothing to report. No news is good news, right?

But then I recognize that the need to write is inborn in me, and often at times inescapable. I can't get past the need to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Often for me, writing is as much about having something to say as it is about processing what I see.

This season, we are full on in the throes of holiday confusion. I've got a bright shiny declaration of joy right next to my harvest pumpkins. There are remembrances of gratitude, pushed up against the glitter and amid the sounds of Joy to the World that one child continues to play on the piano daily. Though she's lately taken to Silent Night, I can feel it. I can feel the spinning and topsy turvy of switching gears so quickly. It seems as if Thanksgiving and Christmas are colliding this year. And as I lament that fact, that Christmas is only five weeks from now, I realize that maybe that collision is just the way it's supposed to be. First Thanksgiving comes and then we open wide our hearts to Christmas, Christ-in-us.

Whatever it is, I fight to find the grateful while I make the lists. Gifts to buy, things to plan, parties to attend and so much fuss. I think of this and of how babies don't need a lot of fuss; does Jesus need all of our fussing? He came, without the fuss and devoid of any holiday glitter. The sky shone bright that night for him, but what of our lives? Do they shine bright with expectation? Or are the dull and weary by obligation and duty?

Did Christ come with a to-do list in one hand and list of regulations on the other?

No he did not.

He came to bind the brokenhearted. He came to heal the sick and to give sight to the blind, those spiritual eyes shut tight, in desperate need of his life and truth. In him is life, and that life is our light. Will we feel that this Christmas?

Or will we make our lists, the ones with things to buy and places to go and obligations to tend to, and will we feel the crushing burden of our own stress? Will we collide from Thanksgiving into Christmas in the worst way, or in the most graceful way? And if we do it gracefully, what will that look like?

For us, here in this dusty house, it will mean less of doing and more of being. Being with the ones we love, and being with the Savior. It is is his party after all. The collision of gratitude and Christ-in-us comes with planning ahead and a sense of intentionality, making the most of what we have all while choosing to be content with less. Less fuss. Less purchasing. Less doing out of obligation. And much more doing because of joy and; because what I do, I want it to be done because it's Christ in me, coming out. Light and life and joy and peace, they are not abstract ideals that are fun to talk about, but impossible to grasp. They are real and true, and just as sure as my husband's steady hand in mine at the end of a long day. And they are in me, pushing to be let out this holiday-right in the collision of gratitude and Christmas.

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