Merry Christmas!

I can’t let Toenail Fungus be my last post for 2019, so I’m thinking about Jesus.

nativity scene christmas decor

He was God and with God until the Holy Spirit planted Him in Mary’s womb. I wonder if He knew in there. Did He know He was love? Did He remember the swimming around after He was born? Did He remember hearing the whispers as she walked about Nazareth? Did He remember coming from Heaven?

Or what about Joseph and Mary? They’re both your regular old garden variety people trying to live the lives God gave them. And then Gabriel appears. I slow down from wrapping presents and picture that. A glowing stranger standing in my house or inhabiting my dream. I wonder if Mary reached for a handy weapon or just sank to the floor, shaking. I wonder if she started thinking hard about what she’d learned of the Messiah. Could this really be happening, right now? In her town? To her? And then he was gone. Wait, did that just happen? Now what? Talk about walking with God. Did she hustle right down to the synagogue and ask the rabbi to haul out the scrolls?

I wonder what travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem was like nearly nine months pregnant. Not by plane, but by donkey. I haven’t ridden a donkey, but I’ve ridden a horse, even pregnant. It’s okay, for a little while, but not for miles. Did she get off and walk just for a break, and then get back on when she got too tired? Was she thinking about how the Rabbi said He’d be born in the City of David, or by this time was she wondering if she’d eaten  the wrong thing for dinner, or whether Joseph and Elizabeth had joined her in some kind of insanity? Did God encourage her through those days?

Did she think, “I knew it couldn’t be me who’d mother the Savior,” when the innkeeper put them up in the stable? “Surely, God wouldn’t allow His Son to be born in a barn.”

Or what if I were one of those shepherds? I’m beating the bushes looking for a lamb who’s bleating his head off when the night sky lights up with singing angels. Dude, what is up? I crouch behind a tree. Just because they’re singing doesn’t mean I’m not in trouble. My buddies are caught in the open, and the angels tell them to find a newborn baby lying in a cow manger in a barn. Say what? But I heard it with my own ears. We drive the sheep up the road to Bethlehem, through the town, drawing people to their windows to shew us out. But we’re on a mission. There’s light in a cave just outside town. We stop the sheep just outside and hear a baby cry. Must be the right place. We creep up without words and look in. Look in … your turn.

 

Life

How’s that for a broad subject? Perhaps a little narrowing is in order.

The older I get the more I think I don’t know anything about anything.  Now there’s the topic.

grayscale photography of person using phone

This is not me, but it could be.

I’m a writer, at least most days. Sometimes I get published, and sometimes I don’t. Am I still a writer when I don’t? Should I just smile and wash the dishes instead?  And since the Bible says what pleases God is when we love each other, care for widows, orphans, immigrants, and so on; are slow to anger, etc., does writing – or any other occupation – even matter? Maybe I should just smile and feed an orphan. I don’t know. My mentor, Ethel Herr, who now looks at Jesus face-to-face, said our books can reach love, acceptance, etc. to a whole lot more people than our small circles of influence. So if I glue my face to my computer and knuckle down, what happens to the hubs, the kids, the friends? Ecclesiastes even says the writing of books is endless.

Maybe it’s about balance. Except, my days can blow up in a phone call. Sometimes the writing bite is huge, and sometimes the relationship bite is huge. Wait, am I starting to see something here?

Or how about truth and grace? I used to think telling the truth could hurt the people I love or cause them to get real angry. So I didn’t bother with telling it, thinking I was giving them grace. I guess I have learned one thing. Grace isn’t grace without truth, and truth isn’t truth without grace. Only, now I have to figure out how to tell the truth in grace, and I don’t even think I’m capable of figuring that out. Wretched woman that I am.

Maybe what’s really going on is that my plans aren’t God’s plans, and my understanding of life, or any part thereof, is way smaller than God’s understanding. What to do? What if I consider interruptions, not interruptions, but redirecting from on high? But wait, am I just making excuses? What if when I don’t have a clue what to do, I ask God? What if He doesn’t answer? Reminds me of when the grownups used to say, “We’ll see.”

Okay, here I go again. I used to come up with great ideas and go into implementation phase before checking in with Him. I’d look over my shoulder, having left Him in the dust, and say something like, “What do you think, God?” He put up with that for a lot of years. Over time, I found myself confused and exhausted a lot. What’s the verse, “Come to Me, you who are weary,” etc.?  I finally noticed the “Come to Me” part of the verse. Take it from an old broad, it’s much better to check in first, get your marching orders, and then strike out.  If there are no marching orders, stay put. That’s easy. Writing this conclusion at Christmastime seems supremely appropriate, now that I think about it. Merry Christmas, every one!

Christmas

I watched my favorite holiday movie yesterday, “Home for the Holidays.” It’s about a family who drive each other nuts, but they feel compelled to get together. I’ve been musing about the holidays, and I have nothing profound to say, just some thoughts. The holidays are mostly about relationships – that’s where the gifts, lights, food, etc. originate from, at least for me. And yet some grouse that we hate getting together with family and friends. It’s too much work, too time consuming, too much of people we find irritating.

In the Old Testament there were years of Jubilee when everyone’s debts were forgiven. It would be lovely if the holidays worked like that, where everybody got a clean slate.
They don’t though, because things are complicated. Old memories of past hurts won’t die, and people who should apologize don’t, or don’t call it what it was, or people who should lighten up won’t, and make mountains out of molehills, and nobody is really sure which one they’re guilty of. So what is my point? Or what do I get out of this?

If I’ve got a beef with someone, or I hate seeing someone because they aren’t kind, accepting, warm and fuzzy, or I’m pretty sure someone is ticked with me but I’m not sure why or don’t agree with them, what do I do? The only thing that ever worked for me when I’m confused was to tell Jesus.

When I ask Him about the craziness, He calmly answers me. Then I know what to do, who to see, how to handle hurts, how much money to spend, how to say sorry, yada yada yada. Then the holidays are calm, and even if we haven’t hit on Jesus’ actual, exact birthday to celebrate, it doesn’t matter. He kind of likes us coloring the fog with lights, loving each other more than usual, and looking for strangers to show kindness to.
Gosh, I feel real Christmasy now.