I planted these three pink amaryllises a little over two weeks ago. They have all gotten the same amount of water and sunshine…yet the one in the middle is far ahead of the others in height and maturity. Why?
And “why” in life do some people seem to plunge ahead of the masses of runners to cross the finish line with seeming ease…year after year….after year?
Right now we are all caught up in the race towards Christmas. And we all know it is a race…we run it every year. For some of us…it is as intimidating as a marathon…for others….a brisk walk towards the goal.
These are the neighbors or friends or family who always seem to be ahead…of everything in life. And, to make it worse, they never seem rushed or discombobulated like the rest of us panting strugglers…especially at Christmas time.
Some type of “deja vu” moment hit me several years back….when I realized that the only way to stop Christmas craziness is for it to arrive! Only Christmas Day halts the frenzy of preparation. Christmas Day is usually just a blur…because the sleepless nights leading up to it have left everyone exhausted…ready to eat dinner and then fall face forward into bed.
This is the night we do dream of candy canes…but in adults’ dreams the canes spell out “I did it….I survived Christmas again.”
One thing that would remove so much pressure from our lives around the Christmas season…would be to understand that the “prize” in winning a race is not the reason for running it.
All we have to do is complete the race…in the best manner we can. To give it our all and let the chips fall where they may.
One of our interim pastors, a few years back, preached on this same topic on All Saints Day. He imagined heaven where long lines of people are gathered on both sides of the running track…holding out their hands or patting our shoulder when we take center stage as the newest member of heaven’s track team.
Finally we see the race of life more clearly. It was never about one special prize for just one fast runner…life was always about picking ourselves up when we fell and then continuously getting back in the race again and again.
The pastor pictured the saints from the Bible extending their hands towards us as we close in on the finish line…and then suddenly we see all the people (family and friends) who have gone before us…smiling and yelling “Way to go…you did it” or “We’re so proud of you…we knew you would finish the race!”
Even if the middle amaryllis blooms first….that doesn’t affect the other two amaryllises on either side. It just isn’t time for them to cross the finish line yet. But they will be just as beautiful as the middle one when they do. In fact it will be fading while they take “center stage.”
The following is my favorite Bible verse.
2 Timothy 4:7 – I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
So until tomorrow…There’s no need to try to outpace anyone else at Christmas. It will come when it is supposed to…and all we have to do if fight the good fight, finish the race…and most importantly keep the faith.
“Today is my favorite day”….Winnie the Pooh
* I had a roommate last night…Eva Cate. Mom and Dad needed an “elves” night to do some of that required “adult assembly” we all dread seeing in the directions prior to Christmas morning.
We first stopped by Doodle’s to let Eva Cate play in her famous playhouse for all the children and this year for Eva Cate to be mesmerized by a train going around the Christmas tree. I could have sat right there and watched it for hours but Eva Cate was already heading towards the door to the playhouse.
Then pizza, Charlie Brown Christmas, paint fingernails…and lights out….
I came across this message on prayers months ago…but forgot about it for awhile….still it has lingered on in my memory.
I love the hope in that last sentence….”wait and we get the best”!