Monday, December 30, 2013

When The Best Is Yet To Come

On this last Monday of the year 2013, I'm typing in my favorite comfy yoga pants that have never done yoga, my tattered white sweatshirt, and scruffy old slippers that are worn to my exact foot shape, drinking  the last of my lukewarm coffee.

The real me isn't glamorous.

The snow village that spans the kitchen on every cabinet soffit, blinks and whirls in the calm after the storm of activity. I'm tired-content-happy. There were sweet moments of complete satisfaction, yet most days were a pushing past what is easy or fun, in living out the real of life.

Real life isn't always pretty.

So here is a glimpse of the real me these last so-very-many-crazy days.

There were twenty five days of the book, The Greatest Gift to help keep the real meaning of Christmas in the front of my brain.

There was the radio station that talked about how to keep a sparkly box under the tree for Jesus. The idea was to look for things that would bless others in His name.

There was weak trembling hope in all the crazy commercialism and hurrying here and rushing over there, that in the deep places of the soul, quiet and peace could reign and that this year, could be different than all the other years before.

There was the man who needed gas in his car.

There was the fight with my husband.

There was the reading chronologically through the New Testament for the first time ever.

There was the free eight foot Christmas tree that my friend Karen was getting rid of, that is h-u-g-e and gorgeous, but had no instructions and we laughed at ourselves as we drug it home and figured it all out.

There was the worse Christmas party ever thrown in the history of Christmas parties. Ever. By yours-truly. Not even kidding. But the guests were the most gracious and the time was salve to the soul.

There was the day JQ would be gone, then maybe he would be home, and then he was gone and then he was sent back at the last minute to be with the family.

There were the steaks cooked too long, side-dishes that were never assembled, and not even one cookie made in this kitchen. Not even one.

There was the unplanned doctors appointment.

There was the blog post published that had a ridiculously huge, ginormous typo.

There was the countless grasping, pushing, mean people at the one store and the cashier that was crying.

There was the homeless man warming himself at the mall, that we took shopping.

There was the report of the person who was slandering and cutting my heart with their words.

There was the older lady I don't know, that needed a ride, twice, when it wasn't really convenient. It was a good God-interruption in my small world.

There were gifts forgotten to hand out.

There was the two hours of coffee with the perfect foam and beautiful face time with a friend that was the greatest gift of the day.

There was the night I dropped into bed at 8:30 p.m. and did not budge until 6:30 a.m.

There is the guy who walks in single digit temperatures to a job cleaning up after animals who had nowhere to go for Christmas.

There were Christmas cards not sent.

There were the gifts.

Gifts that blessed my soul. Gifts that couldn't be wrapped in paper.

Indeed this month I've been relearning how to daily unwrap the Greatest Gift, in the everyday, as the waves of life swell and ebb.

It has been embracing the things that were intended to tear us apart, so they can set us apart.

And when my friend gave me these framed words, I knew they were perfect for the days we are living and the days that lie ahead.

There was no credit given on the print and on the internet there is some discussion of their origin. They are most widely accredited to Mother Teresa. Despite various opinions of who wrote them, it is largely accepted that they were written on the wall of her home for children in Calcutta. They are now hanging in the center of my home. Thank you dear friend Wendy.

I mostly want this dreamy Norman Rockwell kind of Christmas season and holiday, with the family picture complete with soft bokeh lighting all around, amazing food, music playing, giggles and laughter and the embraced acceptance of loved ones.

But Jesus who is The Greatest Gift, is not the sum of these things and can not be restrained to my ideas of what this season consists of.

In her book, The Greatest GiftAnn Voskamp quotes Stuart Briscoe:

The spirit of Christmas needs to be superseded
 by the Spirit of Christ.

The spirit of Christmas is annual;
the Spirit of Christ is eternal.

The spirit of Christmas is sentimental;
the Spirit is Christ is supernatural.

The spirit of Christmas is a human product;
the Spirit of Christ is a divine person.

That makes all the difference in the world.

The problem I often run into is this man-made-idea of Christmas, versus the Christ of Christmas. And since the heavens can't contain the glory of God, earth can't restrain Him to certain days or seasons either.

Christ is the message of Christmas.

Not just one day, but every day.

This whole last year my one word was "All."

It is fitting that I end this year with the reminder that Christmas isn't a season, it is the Person of Christ who was before all things and holds all things together.

In. ALL. things.

Not some.

Not most.


May we each unwrap the gift of Him every day.

And sweet friends, the best of what this world has to offer, leaves us wanting more... if we don't know the One who holds it all together.

As we enter the first days of the new year, I am reminded that in Christ, the reality is,  the best is yet to come.

Happy 2014!

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© Rhonda Quaney