Photo: Eloise at Christmastime
(GASPS) It’s Christmas Eve EVE!!!!
I wonder what the anticipation of Jesus’ birthday on earth is like in heaven.
Is there a giant countdown somewhere? Do the angels check off dates on their calendars? Does anyone even need a calendar? What would a calendar for “eternity” look like?
I wonder if at midnight of the 25th balloons fall from the sky and the heavenly hosts burst out their instruments (I’m assuming all those born without musical genes, coughmecough, will suddenly be blessed with musical talent immediately upon entering the heavenly gates) and perform a rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
And then Jesus will blow out over 2000 candles on a really large sheet cake.
And nobody would be able to use trick candles because omniscience does not lend well to surprises.
I would think that the anticipation of the day when You took a really huge demotion from heaven to earth, to dwell among us in human form so that You could ultimately bring us back to You, would be cause for a pretty raucous celebration.
Here on earth, I want to get excited as the day of Emmanuel, God with us, approaches. I should be checking off the days on my calendar in anticipation.
I can’t celebrate the day in which you came to earth with harps or a guitar or a flute or even a kazoo, but I can celebrate it with song of excitement and joy and thankfulness in my heart.
It’s Christmas Eve EVE!!!!!
Very excited that Converge Magazine picked up this post! Check it out here.
I’d like for everyone to take a moment and look at my left ring finger.
Yes. It is naked.
I’m going to stop you right there, like you’re a telemarketer trying to sell me a lifetime supply of gold to hoard in my non-existent safe:
I’m good, thanks.
In an effort to save energy on both our parts, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling the most frequently asked questions with my responses. (Laminated for durability given the undetermined amount of multi-year usage.)
1. Have you met any nice gentlemen recently?
Three weeks ago, I ordered something online through Amazon’s two day shipping. I received a knock on my apartment door, and I opened it. Before me was a FedEx man in a brown uniform holding a brown box. He handed the box to me, smiled, and said, “Have a nice day.”
2. Why don’t you try online dating?
Someone once told me kidney stones were as painful as childbirth. When compared to online dating, kidney stones sound like a combination of winning the lottery, going to Disney World, and frolicking in a meadow full of daises and labradoodles. While eating an ice cream cone.
3. Why don’t you move to where there are more eligible bachelors?
Are you referring to an actual place in America? Or in a utopian piece of literature?
The truth is, I’m happy. Honestly. I’m not pulling your leg — my fingers aren’t crossed behind my back because they’re too busy balancing a mountain of Christmas cookies.
While I’m thankful you’re praying God will put the right man into my life — and soon (I’m still not quite sure how to interpret that) — I’m pretty sure God knows what He’s doing with me.
Right now, I’m single.
And right now, I’m loving every minute of it.
I’m not living like marriage is my end goal, like it’s the only reason God put me on this earth. I’m here to know Him and to make Him known — in my workplace, in my friendships, in laughter, in writing, and in utilizing my gifts and talents. He has me in my current job, city, apartment, church, sphere of influence, and relationship status for a reason.
I’m content right where He has me.
(Isn’t that all that matters anyway?)
So let’s talk about other things — important things — like how many cookies you think I could shove in my mouth at once. And how Christ alone completes me. And what He’s doing in my life.
Speaking of important things and Christ, rumor has it that it’s His birthday.
The best Christmas present I ever received was a doll house my dad made for me. Two stories, the shingled roof was taller than my seven-year-old self. There were bay windows with sheer curtains. Wallpaper, crown molding, and hardwood floors. Electricity that lit up wall sconces and table lamps. My Barbies were in heaven, and so was I.
And then there was the Christmas present of yourself as a baby in a manger. There were shepherds with their sheep. A heavenly host singing heavenly melodies. Wise men and their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. You gave the gift of your son, so we could ultimately be in heaven with you.
As I look over my Christmas list full of gifts that don’t last, I know there should be a better way to give gifts. There should be a better way to give gifts like you did.
You gave yourself.
Maybe it’s giving my time instead of giving a shirt on sale from Sears. Maybe it’s making a homemade card with heartfelt words instead of a gift card to Starbucks. Maybe it’s making a doll house instead of buying one.
Maybe it just means giving myself to others like you did for me.
I’m trying to be a person that relishes moments. Like catching a firefly in a jar, I want to take in the beauty of a fleeting experience by being fully present.
I’m thinking about this soak-up-experiences-like-a-sponge state of mind while the colors from a sunset streak across the sky like the atmosphere is your canvas and you’re the Master Painter. I’m thinking about this while I’m catching up with a kindred spirit through an invisible connection from my computer to hers on the other side of the world. I’m thinking about this as I’m visiting my parents’ home for the first time since Easter and we’re sitting on the couch together with no lights on except for the multi-colored glow of the Christmas tree reflecting off handmade ornaments decades old.
I’m savoring these moments as they are all special and fleeting and precious and I want to make time for them and do them justice. Because important things not only need to be remembered but need to be relished in the moment.
I’m thinking about all this on the first day of Advent, a time when we are preparing our hearts for the coming of your Son.
I’m thinking about how I usually relish the moment that is the Advent season—cookies stuffed with peanut butter cups, white lights that look like icicles, glass ornaments, music about sleigh bells and winter wonderlands, malls with 50% off bargains, movies about humans that think they’re elves and travel to New York City and fall in love with a blonde Zooey Deschannel.
I’m thinking about all this on the first day of Advent and wondering how I can be more fully present in these fleeting four weeks before Christmas.
I’m stuffing my firefly jar too full of meaningless activities and sugar and shopping that I forget to embrace fully the sole light, the sole reason, inside. I want to savor this season because it’s special and fleeting and precious and I want to make time for Jesus’ birthday and do it justice. I want to be the person that relishes in the anticipation of You coming to earth to dwell amongst us as a baby, Emmanuel, You are with us—the Light of the world.
I’m a plagiarist.
And the copy and paste shortcuts on my keyboard weren’t even utilized.
It started out innocently enough. I’m at work receiving praise from a colleague, and we’re not talking the throwing-flowers-at-my-feet-let’s-erect-a-statue-in-your-honor praise, we’re talking the one-pat-on-the- back-and-a-teeth-showing-smile praise.
And I received it without any hesitation.
No online websites or articles were copied and pasted (including Wikipedia), no one received $20 dollars from me in exchange for a B paper on sustainability in Eastern Europe, and no books from the library were harmed in the making of this act of plagiarism.
All I did was forget to cite my source. (Even after years of constant threats of expulsion from institutions of higher education and multiple copies of the MLA handbook.)
When someone comments on my seemingly chronic state of smiling, I receive it without any hesitation. When someone compliments me on a wise word I said, I receive it without any hesitation. When someone notices my personal contentment and joy, I receive it without any hesitation.
I receive it as if I am the one responsible. As if I, through personal hard work and perseverance, created within myself a content, joyful, and wise spirit. As if I manifested these characteristics of my own accord.
But I know full well that every good and perfect gift comes from You.
The hope I have in your grace and Christ’s sacrifice, gives me a joy that radiates. Your love keeps me in a seemingly chronic state of smiling. Your Holy Spirit grants me wise words in difficult conversations. The promise of Christ’s power to give me strength in all situations cultivates contentment within my soul.
This is all a sign of Your hands at work—not mine.
I’m guilty of taking Your work and passing it off as my own.
I’m a plagiarist that needs to start citing her Source.