Sunday, December 11, 2011

What if Christmas is really dress rehearsal?

Christmas seemed new last year. It pummeled my heart and everything started to change. I felt all discombobulated and twitchy, it was exciting and uncertain. I felt like an odd ball and I didn't really give a rip. I pulled on a new understanding of what Christmas really is, what it was meant to be all along.

This year, I didn't have to dig it out of the closet with the tree and the stockings. I kind of already had it on. I still wiggle my shoulders around in it, it doesn't all make sense yet and I still wonder about things, but I know for sure that this depth, the happy heartache of the season, all of the contemplating and the giving and the gratitude, its shelf-life is longer than a month.

Still, we celebrate. We throw some bling around and dip almost everything in chocolate. This year, I look at this party as practice. We take this month and we deck the halls and I hope that when the little eyes in my house look around, when I look around, we all see reminders of truth and hope and joy. We see a world that needs us and a Baby that saved us.

Our party looks different and I hope it looks different all over again in a year. I hope my heart continues to melt and mold and I hope the way I live and the way I love always reflect my journey.

So, this is Christmas. 2011.

We're here in the rental. Nothing matches. We're a little tight, way too beige.

Still, to my left sits a young man with a cracked tooth and a broken hand. He's telling me about how God found him in the hole at the county jail, how for 30 days of solitude and cinder-block, he came face-to-face with the only One who could ever give him peace.

He's here with us for a week, maybe more. And so I'll cook for him and listen, help him with laundry. I'll learn from him.

If I feel compelled to give during this season, let me be compelled further in January, and April.

Amid the twinkle and the glitter, all the wonder and the achy heartbeat of understanding that a tiny Baby came to save us, I can recondition my heart for everyday, garden variety, changes-everything love.

I can keep wearing it, just never take it off. Shift my shoulders inside this truth and get cozy in it. I hope it fits even better after another year of practice.