Where’s your Christmas spirit?
I questioned myself in the mirror a few days ago. The reply was a shoulder shrug and a “meh.” That girl needed an attitude adjustment.
I’d been staring at a partially-lit Christmas tree for over two weeks. I had Keith bring it up from the basement so I could take my time and work on fluffing and stringing lights—where many of the pre-lit ones had died. Alas, I had no desire to touch the tree, but sadly plugged it in every evening and let it mock me with its smashed branches and swath of darkness.
Would Christmas 2020 irrevocably tangle my tinsel?
I needed some magic pixie dust. Or perhaps a round of eggnog with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” playing in the background?
Nope. I turned to my tried and true method of getting over myself. I prayed. I asked God to give me a proper perspective and return my vertical vision. Horizontal vision gets me in trouble every time. It seems I cannot look away once I catch a glimpse of the mayhem that surrounds me on every hand. Then I fixate on the things outside my control that threaten my loved ones and me.
Before I know it I have a snowball of fear and despair in my hand.
Watch out if you get in my path when I’m in such a state.
It takes supernatural force to turn my gaze upward to be reminded who He is and where my standing is, despite the chaos. His look of love melts my snowball and relaxes my “armed and dangerous” pose, flooding me with peace and purpose.
I also read passages like this one from Psalms. A reminder that He gets me and believes in His plan for me:
The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race.
From his throne he observes all who live on the earth.
He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do.
Turns out He sent a bit of pixie dust anyway.
I took advantage of that tree and hastily stuck Fred (our elf on the shelf) in its branches. He made his 2020 debut with a letter to the grandkids asking why no one had decorated anything. I was in my room when the two of them arrived home from school. Henry typically beelines to retrieve my iPad in there, but he stopped short, and it took me a second to remember Fred was in the tree just outside our bedroom door.
Oh, I wish I could describe the excitement in Henry’s voice. He had intercepted Fred on the tree before he reached me. I listened as he reached high to retrieve Fred’s letter. Then I waited, expectantly, as he ran toward the stairwell (where Scarlett typically takes much longer to emerge) and gushed, “Scarlett! Our elf on the shelf is back! Fred is here and he left us a letter!”
There was my Christmas spirit. The joy of my grandchild in the make-believe…the innocence of wonder and awe that Fred had returned, just as he promised.
Something flickered inside and I remembered…
I have joy in what I believe. There is wonder and awe in the celebration of His coming to Bethlehem. There is hope that He will return for you and me.
2020 has been on His calendar since the beginning of time itself. We’ve been in good hands all along. May we carry this sacred knowing within us throughout the season. May we be aware that others will need more Christmas cheer than ever before this year.
LORD, let us look around at the opportunities You provide to be kind and love well, but keep our vision vertical. You know us; we need You.
Be Kind. Love Well.