Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Feels Different This Year - Volume I


Let me tell you what kind of girl I am. I am the kind who will put the kids to blessed bed then come downstairs, change into my sweats, make a cup of tea, feel for the ripest clementine and pile it in a bowl along with one lone angel sugar cookie, gather the phone, the remotes, the computer and a book and arrange them all around me like a menagerie. I'm here, in a house entirely void of noise, and I don't want to move for the next two hours, give or take. Does that make me lazy? Well, I'm alright with it if you are.

I flipped through the channels, alight on unwarranted hope. I turned it right back off. The lack of worthy options only reinforces the fact that I have things on my mind, and it just so happens that I cannot write (or read) with the tv or radio on. (Don't even get me started on people who fall asleep to the sound of the tube. How is that even possible?)

I hear nothing but the sound of the furnace and I hope to high heaven that the phone doesn't ring.

I wish I could talk tonight about decorations or my Posse. I've got plenty of good things in the pipeline. But today has worn me down to a nubbin and my heart leans slightly toward the heavy side. I can't put my finger on exactly why. Maybe heavy isn't even the word. It's not sad, my heart. It's not worried. I picture it with its brow furrowed a bit, its gaze stretching far to the horizon.

It's contemplative. That's what it is. It's got a lot on it's mind, this heart of mine.

Tonight, just before bedtime, I unpacked our new nativity scene with Calvin and Ruby. We read The Story and it hit me for the very first time that Mary and Joseph were there in Bethlehem, wandering aimlessly, waiting for a labor and delivery suite with a mauve vinyl chair that pulls out into a bed and room service. I imagine they thought, with every single rejection, that the next inn would have a fancy room for them. They didn't ask for all of "this", after all. This was God's doing. God would see to the details. They probably weren't even worried about it, although they surely must not have been in the mood for an interactive scavenger hunt. I'm sure they believed that when they finally found a room, it would be perfect.

And then it wasn't.

It was dirty and it smelled bad.

I won't begin to imagine how they reacted to this. It doesn't even matter. The point to me is that I am not the first person to feel strung along by God. This precarious high-wire teetering is not unique to me.

I find myself thinking all of the time that it's just so weird that God asked us to do something and then He didn't do anything. It's not that I doubt his presence in our life right now - not at all. I just imagined it going down differently. I expected our obedience to be rewarded with things of this world - time-lines, monetary exchanges, exciting headlines.

Only now does it seem fitting to me that we are here, in this beautiful, cozy house that we want to be rid of, during this season. Maybe it's no coincidence that my heart tug-of-wars with my head over how best to celebrate this year. All I can say is, our celebrating will look different, and I'm thankful for it. We are learning through all of this how to hear the voice that matters most to us. We are learning the value of obedience for obedience's sake.

The Baby, born into filth, was not made for this world. His purposes transcend a buyer's market and record-high unemployment. He just wants us. He wants the truest form of us - the "us" that God created for Him. The us that gets lost, every day, in commotion and comfort.

Over the next hour, I will eat my clementine and my naked angel in solitude and peace. The Tylenol is already scrubbing the ache from the corner of my eye and my tea is just right. I will pick up my book - so impeccably well-written - and read alongside the glow of the newspaper tree. I'll see paper plate wreaths to my left, carved wisemen to my right. I'll see Christmas all around me. I'll see Him and his mom and dad, who went when they were told to go, who trusted when no one else would have, who traded in their ideas for ideas that were far less shiny but wholly eternal.

And while we're on the subject, I was reminded today of an all-time favorite Christmas song. (Can you believe it??)