I’m surrounded by papers, address books, labels, and writing deadlines tugging at my pant leg and asking me why I’ve abandoned them like a glove in a pile of hats and scarves. I hear the call of Christmas cookie ingredients begging to jump into a bowl, to become something delectable so they can sit alongside their friends: the ten dozen or so I baked yesterday that are sitting on the kitchen table in tinfoil and tins, patiently waiting to be delivered. And I hear the laundry spinning from the basement as my head spins louder…
I’ve missed something. I knew things would get crazy. It always does. But I thought I was ready. I thought I knew what to expect and how to handle it all so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed and sucked into the rush of doing Christmas instead of being Christmas. Wait a minute. Where’d that come from and what in the world does that mean? Being Christmas??
Hmmm. “Doing” is action. Bake, mail Christmas cards, write a Christmas story, shop etc. (And do the laundry and cook dinner of course.)
“Being” has to do with our very existence. In other words, it cuts through the stuff of what we do to get to the heart of who we are. Interesting.
So being Christmas would mean something like be loving and forgiving like Jesus, the One whose birth it represents.
Anyone popping into your head that you can be more loving toward or someone you can forgive? What a great time to do it. The sounds of “I love you,” and “I forgive you” sound a lot better than the timer for the cookies, the buzzing of the dryer, and all the songs playing at the mall combined.
I dare you. I dare you to be Christmas this year.
And I dare me too.
I slapped myself in the face yesterday. And pretty hard too. I had been rushing around, gathering shopping lists, coupons, and a few snacks and drinks for the long day ahead of me when I felt a little tickle on my face. At first I thought it was just my hair brushing across my cheek until I remembered my hair is really short now, AND this tickle was moving and crawling up my face. I went into panic mode, slapped myself in the face, and jumped from the car; thankfully I was still sitting in the garage! I ripped off my jacket and shook it out, brushed madly at the rest of my body, and began to search for the creepy spider with long legs I just knew was on my face. But I never found it.
What I did find, however, was a memory buried in the back of my brain that reminded me of another time when I was frantic, trying to get to the store with our daughter (who was only about two at the time) to pick out a Father’s Day gift for my husband before I had to leave for work. I made sure she was buckled in, got myself situated, and backed right into the garage door. I forgot to put it up. I remember looking back at our little girl, so thankful the door was the only thing that got hurt.
Sometimes God will do things, outrageous things, to slow me down just to protect me. Traffic jams, the car won’t start right away, or someone else is running late that I’m waiting on. The phone rings right before I head out, or I can’t find my keys. Or God allows me to back into the garage door or slap myself in the face to wake me up right then and there to reveal the panic mode I’m in and to snap me out of it.
So I have to wonder, what did God save me from yesterday? I may never know.
Hmm. Maybe He didn’t do it to protect me but to protect you. Maybe that’s why He wanted me to share this with you, to help you slow down. Maybe this post is your “slap.”
Please don’t rush past His warning.
“Hear, O my people, and I will warn you.” (Psalm 81:8a NIV.)