Our creative God surprised me that night.
The intoxicating Christmas opportunities drowned out His soft reminders. Parties, people, delights, sweets, baking, making and wrapping filled my days.
All was not well, however. Paradoxically, in the middle of the brightest, most delight-filled season in recent memory, my heaping guilt mushroomed into a dark cloud of separation. “Surely,” I thought, “surely when I concentrate too much on holiday distractions, God is disappointed. Yes, He is watching and disapproving my diversions, waiting for me to get this season right!”
To be sure, I celebrated His birth, and celebrated it well, but I felt distant and disparaged. I heard and believed the nagging alienating voices, and the chasm between me and the Holy One grew larger.
Weeks passed, and too many deadlines loomed. Urgent took over important as my internal panic button screamed relentlessly. Figuring Jesus didn’t care (since I’d gotten myself in this muddle), I considered fighting through the obligations on my own, but my angst protested too loudly to ignore. “I can’t do this, God,” I screamed, too frustrated to cry.
And then it happened. Snow cancelled one event; another plan fell through; several deadlines postponed. Finally, able to stop, my anxiety subsided, and that’s when I saw Him, standing right there in the doorway of my imagination, smiling at the ornaments just barely completed by Epiphany.
Wait! He was smiling at my distractions?? He nodded, and I knew. He cared. He fully intended to walk through that doorway, straight into the middle of my preoccupations. He wanted to pull up a chair, sit down, and work on my distractions WITH me.
I didn’t expect Him to be right there in all my distracted places –the sunroom of card-making; the dining room of cookie-baking; the living room of handmade gifts (overflowing with unmet deadlines). But He was there, and He stayed, silently clearing my schedule, erasing dates from the calendar to give me more time.
This is not a Jesus of the Heavenly Encounters. This is a Jesus who comes into my world and changes it. He is not my spiritual critical parent. Instead, He chooses to woo me with His help, His care, His attention to the things that matter most to me.
Shoulds disappear, and He covers me with His peace.
Listen, my heart. This Jesus doesn’t settle for just one celebration of His Incarnation; This is a Jesus of eternal Christmases. He comes into our world minute by minute, not just calling me to His purposes, but joining me in mine, until we move together to a Bigger Plan.
I look up at Jesus, still unsure, expecting Him to chastise the Martha in me, calling me to “choose the better part” and be like Mary. Instead, He picks up a dishtowel and walks over to the sink.