Sunday, December 7, 2014

the great Christmas snowball is trying to take you out!

photo credit: schamis

You know those cartoons where a person gets rolled over by a snowball and 
becomes a part of the snowball picking up enormous speed, 
gathering snow, getting larger and larger,
rolling down a few snow laden cliffs and a steep glacial drop
and when it finally rolls to a stop
all you can see is hands and feet sticking out of a mammoth ball of snow?
That person inside is me.
Those are my hands and feet waving at you from here in Redwood City, California.
I have been squashed by the Christmas snowball.
The snowball of expectations and activities that roar in the Friday after Thanksgiving
and don't die down until the New Year has been rung in.
So far I have ordered Christmas cards, 
purchased around half of the Christmas presents for my family,
organized the advent calendar,
decorated the house,
bought the tree,
decorated the tree,
marched in a Christmas parade,
gotten Christmas packages together for our World Vision kiddos,
picked out the songs for our kids carol sing along in church in two weeks,
made 17 gazillion lists of things that need be purchased,
errands to be run and good deeds to be tended to.
This is only the first weekend in December.
And I am through.
If you need me, I will be in bed until January.
Or maybe for another 15 minutes because then I have work on my book
that is on deadline in 7 days, and practice the worships songs for church this afternoon
and buy beef jerky for the gift box our church kids are sending overseas to a soldier
this Sunday.
Sometimes all the good things that we have planned take over our lives 
and pin us down so we can hardly breathe.
Maybe you have also been squashed by the Christmas snowball.
(I may have picked you up when I was rolling down the mountain of bills 
I was paying yesterday and the truckload of errands I was running this week...sorry about that.)
The Christmas snowball leaves some chaos in its wake.
There has been a lot of yelling at my house this week. 
Because the children don't realize that I am being squashed 
and that being squashed makes me yell.
I don't know if you knew this but your being squashed 
tends to flatten those around you, too. It's not pretty.
But here is the thing.
Almost none of these things that are flattening me or you are really Christmas.
They are all the trappings we have added to Christmas.
We don't need more parties, or decorations, or gifts, or worries, or expectations, or lists,
to be added to Christmas.
What we REALLY need is to breathe.
Air is really good right around Christmas time.
Try it. Right now. 4 deep breaths. 
Do you feel the tension easing up between your shoulder blades?
And we need some grace. For ourselves and others.
We need to let ourselves off of the hook and tell Martha Stewart 
(who may or may not have taken up residence in our brain) ,
"Even though hot chocolate made on the stove 
with organic sweet cream and bars of chocolate
garnished with peppermint sticks that you can use as straws 
and dollops of freshly whipped cream in matching Christmas mugs 
with shavings of chocolate made from free trade cacao beans imported from Colombia 
sounds lovely? 
Swiss Miss powdered packets with tiny hard marshmallows are making a comeback."
And we need to love people.
My husband just told me that we at least 8 hugs a day. He read it somewhere.
It sounds about right. 
You don't flatten people when you are holding them close to your heart.
And mostly, we need to remember Jesus.
The Savior.
Breath of Heaven.
Bright and Morning Star.
He loves us.
There is nothing snowballish about him.
He came so that we could be free...not flattened.
So breathe.
Grab some grace and spread it around.
Hug somebody.
And remember that the Light of the World loves you.
Completely. Wholly. Without reservation.
And that is real Christmas.


Kendra said...

I love this so much! Very timely for me because, yeah, I don't know who picked up whom in the snowball but I'm right there with ya'.
If you could possibly add a picture to this so I could pin it I would greatly appreciate it. I also understand if you can't right now bc of the craziness.
Thank you for all you do and write!!

susanna said...

Kendra!!! Thanks for the reminder to put up a picture! Sorry you are in the snowball with me...let's dig our way out! :)

Kendra said...

Yes let's!!!!!