Saturday, December 26, 2009
The crud has camped out in my family through the holiday season. I got into the doctor on Christmas eve day because I knew I was in trouble and could not get through the Christmas activities without some antibiotic. Glad I went, though I hate going to the doctor. He said I was headed for pneumonia. I could not get a full breath and surely began to feel panicked.
However, one 14 dollar pill down, I began to feel better in half a day. I was heartbroken to miss the Christmas eve service, but sent my husband on ahead. That is when the blizzard started. After the early service everyone was dismissed to head home before the roads became impassable.
Lo, and behold, we got a record snowfall, and woke up to the most astounding heap of wet, heavy snow in our backyard. Two pills down the hatch, I was beginning to see a big change in my breathing capacity. I went out into the sun, bundled up to enjoy the sunlight and beautiful snow. Before you know it, the joy that comes in the morning had me making a snow fox. We rarely see snow in Texas, and when we do it is not of the quality or quantity to build anything that last more than half an hour.
I moved on to make a grizzly bear, but thought better of expending too much energy while recovering from infection. The pull to continue to create in the snow was overcome with a gift of common sense and wisdom from the holy spirt.
If you know anything about me from following my blog, you will know that I am crazy about wildlife. The friends I have made on Evergreen Mountain have changed my heart forever. On one particular visit I was able to hand feed a red fox. It was an exquisite, thrilling experience.
I had been transported from the heaviness of sickness and lethargy to rising on Christmas morning to the joyful energy of a child playing in freshly fallen snow. God had invited me to co-create something to express the incredible joy that was blessing my spirit. Abundant life; joy in the morning. It was one of the most joyful Christmas mornings of my life, following one of the most dismal Christmas eves of my life.
God is so good! Restoration, hope, life, breath, faith, trust...
My true Joy did come on Christmas morning to a manger long ago, but he is as real to me today as that freshly fallen snow.
Joy Comes in the Morning!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I came upon the word 'expectancy' in the book, "The Shack" a few years ago. It has rolled around in my mind, straightening my path, my attitude, and my actions since then. I can tell you that it is in the opposite direction and trouble of that other word, 'expectation', which usually leads to resentment, disillusionment, depression, and general malaise! Not a good path on which to travel or stay for very long.
I found myself overwhelmed as usual this time of year with too much to do, too little time, too many expectations, too little energy, and a general lack of excitement because of the emphasis on what needed to be done, bought, cooked, cleaned, then add one hundred more words. Mostly on the unrealistic expectations others have and I have of myself.
It seems that each Christmas season some small thing pierces the 'doing' and gets my heart back to the childlike expectancy of Advent. Waiting, joyfully watching, believing. Some of that arrived in my house today when I was putting together some gifts for my husband's workplace. An idea came to me about how to do a personal gift for some folks that do not expect one. It is such a fun thing to do because of the very fact that they do not expect anything. No exchange, no drawing names, no reason, except to be singled out and given a gift. Those are sometimes hard to get and receive for many reasons. Freely given? Must be a catch. I must hurry out and get something to give back. What do they want? What did I do to deserve this? Oh my!
I decided to post a picture of this creche that I photographed at a house on the Progressive Dinner route. Its simplicity shot an arrow of love right to the point of my need. I remembered how Jesus did not come in the way he was expected. Surely this could not be the Messiah! Our KING born to a virgin as a baby in a lowly manger? Expectations of how and when his kingdom would come to be? They are still all over the chart.
But the expectancy every Christmas, when it pierces my heart, is fulfilled when I realize I have been the recipient of many undeserved gifts. GRACE, MERCY, UNSPEAKABLE JOY, PEACE WITH GOD, A FUTURE AND A HOPE, ETERNAL LIFE. I can't earn any of that list. I can't even give a gift back except to love this little one who would grow to be my Savior; to let that seed of the kingdom which lives in me shine with love.
Expectancy can only be quenched by God. It is not a Christmas list to be fulfilled. It is more simple and complex at the same time than something that can be written down and demanded. It is the awesome way in which God shows up, perhaps in the way we least expect; then in the manger, and now in our daily lives. The LIGHT came to earth that we might be LIGHT to others.
Monday, December 7, 2009
I am the vine, you are the branches.
We stopped at a roadside market and got to see the vineyard of Black Bridge Winery. Lee told us how the grapes must not be harvested until every bit of goodness can be moved from the vine into the grapes. The top leaves were already brown and some seemed to be frostbitten; yet, it was still not time to pluck the grapes.
God wants us to bear fruit, but we must be attached to the vine to do so. We can spin our wheels, be in control; on paper seem to be getting lots done. We can get exhausted in doing.
You could say to a productive sort, "Hey, slow down. You don't have to do everything. Delegate!" Well, some of us with 'mother' hats have not so much of a window to rest in a day, and not a full night of rest before it starts all over again. Sometimes there is no one in human skin to help, or we have too much pride to ask. We caregive to everyone but ourselves. We can start or restart some healthy snacks, praying throughout the day, a short walk or nap if possible, smiling, and practicing an attitude of gratitude. We all can take a few connecting breaths and get centered again in the truth of what we are...the BRANCHES, not the VINE! Lord, help us to remember our life-giving attachment that nourishes our soul and produces good fruit.