Since early November a nearby house has been decked out for Christmas.
And before giving thanks pictures of glittering trees started populating Facebook.
Why couldn’t they wait till after Thanksgiving to put up lights and decorations?
And I myself grinching because I felt they were rushing the holidays.
Then a still, small voice correcting me and my frosty heart melting…
They want more CHRISTmas in their lives.
They can’t wait till December to get their CHRISTmas on because that place deep inside throbs with its need of the real reason for the season that they’ve been missing all year long.
Maybe all life long.
Wanting love and belonging and being accepted just as they are, with the blessed assurance that this existence on earth is not all there is, and hearts warming because they can be made right with God.
And God in His goodness grew my heart three sizes that day.
Squeezing it soft and making more room for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
And the spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love bearing the greatest gift.
The gift we all want.
The gift that waits for us to stop our rushing and our running. The gift that rescues sinners like me and like you, none of us any better than another for the cross leveled the playing field.
We all need Him.
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
Somewhere deep in our collective human conscience is this voiceless pain that screams in the middle of the night when we are sleepless and alone and the quiet is so loud it nearly drives us insane. And the raging roar sweeps over us even as we push our way through an ocean of people on city streets crowded with everyone dashing to gerbil wheel cubicles.
Deep void within throbbing.
Calling our name as we hurry and scurry, pretending we don’t notice and refusing to face it squarely because we’re scared if we stop the desperation gnawing will pick our bones clean.
Only we’re not clean and the shame of our dirt buries us more than six feet and our feet keep running and our hearts keep pounding.
But truth can set us free.
Yet misery loves company and worker drones hustle hither and yawn without ever really making progress and the world keeps tumbling with bad news breaking and hearts all broken wonder will it ever get better.
And that’s why we can’t wait for Christmas.
Not one more minute. We need Christmas now.
So we decorate and bake and wrap and mail and believe that the frenzy will somehow soothe our soul, making life as we know it a bit more bearable.
Church attendance rises with candles lighted weekly as we wait to receive a King. Halls are decked but not all are hallowed and the music spins cheery with some of it worshipful.
And in the cold dark of night lights twinkle bright yet the pitch of our souls howl as our tiny lights flicker.
The people who walk in darkness
Will see a great light;
Those who live in a dark land,
The light will shine on them.
Dark sends us fearing and alone we go looking, bumping up against life because of a wall circling our hearts high and we can’t peer over since we have eyes not seeing.
Christmas commercial brings baubles and busyness and the merry and magic makes us forget for a moment that we moan with all creation groaning.
Longing for a gift rare and priceless, never able to buy.
Only receiving as hearts open.
But searching and striving we shop for better and bigger and brighter to light up our homes and fire our hearts.
But there is only one Way.
And a pillar of fire at night leads to the narrow gate and the road hard, but if we humble low He will hold us and help us.
Like shepherds in the fields long ago when all was silent and silver and a single star lead the way, we will find our way when we stop and sober and lift our eyes towards heaven.
In the silence of a crisp winter’s night of the heart we will hear Him calling like a newborn crying and our hearts yearning to be reborn.
And the most wonderful time of the year crooning will take on a whole new meaning because our hearts filling with wonder will begin seeing Christmas with the eyes of a child.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
And we will celebrate a baby boy born in a stable to a couple of teenagers frightened and far from home.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
And in the body of that tiny babe all new dwelt the Ancient of Days, the fullness of deity, the Alpha and the Omega.
The beginning and the end.
As we unwrap this gift glorious we come undone.
Old life ending and our hearts will open to love unlike any love we have ever known.
Gift of a new beginning.
His truth revealing our hearts real and for the first time we will see the gift of His love unending.
Because of a newborn bundle that cried hungry and whose diapers needed changing and a young virgin bringing Him to her breast, nourishing the One who is the bread of life.
And He changes us in our messes when we cry out for change, delivering us into newness of life.
We don’t have to stay all dirty and sick and tired as cycles run merciless over us and we fill the empty inside with substances damaging like excess work and sex and shoes and drugs.
But we can’t change our own diapers. We need Father’s help.
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
The clock keeps ticking and we fool ourselves thinking that if Christmas is perfect it will fill us. But empty hang stockings at a chimney cold, fire dying. Gifts under the tree pile high and dozens of cookies slide down easy as sugar plums and we have visions of a Martha Stewart holiday.
Only our Martha heart hasn’t a clue that Mary chose the better thing.
The one thing, the only One that can make our lives different. That can turn our tarnish to tinsel as we become the gift we were created to be.
But we keep wailing into the wee hours and no amount of eggnog will make us happy.
You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
Matthew 5:8 The Message
Happiness is found in holiness.
Holiness is found in the Holy One born in Bethlehem who hung on a cross at Calvary.
And holiness can live in our heart. All we have to do is ask and the gift is ours.
Coming in December, Heart Cry, 40 Reflections for a Woman’s Soul.
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Clock photo courtesy of Deviant Art