This upcoming week is a very special week…. (the last week of November) The calm before the storm. The Week that is.
It is exactly one week before Advent starts next Sunday December 2 and runs through December 24. One week…until the pressure begins, the stress follows and suddenly like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland we find ourselves feeling like we are falling into a deep black hole where time has run out for us preparing for Christmas. We are “late, late, for every important date…no time to say hello or good-bye.”
We have let the commercialism of Christmas pull us into thinking that spending money is Christmas…when actually Christmas arrives in the form of loved ones…parents, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. It arrives in the form of a little baby born in a manger. It arrives in the form of strangers who need our help.
I heard something yesterday that made me reach over and pick up a pen to write the statement down…I don’t think I will ever forget it…a true Christmas gift for me and anyone else listening who caught the magnificent significance of the remark.
I was watching the Coach Dabo Show and every week he highlights one of the many coaches on the Clemson team. This past week it was Mike Dooley who went from coaching tight ends to administration (working with high school relationships and recruiting… to being the man in charge of transportation)…a huge job!
He told Coach Dabo that one of his pastors said something one morning (in the pulpit) that has stayed with him ever since…and made him aware of the amazing power and responsibility each of us has on others throughout our lives. This is especially important to him while working with young men… teaching them not only about football…but life and how to be the best person they can be.
Remember…There are more people who are going to read YOU than ever read the Bible. (Wow! Wasn’t that powerful!??)
I think my most important Christmas goal this year will be working harder on the image I am leaving with people I know and love…and even those I have yet to meet. The nice thing about a legacy is that it is always on-going until the day we take our last breath…so we can change it at any moment we choose.
As much as I am so ready to be back on my feet normally, walking normally…this physical setback has provided me with the most glorious gift of all…time. This year my fingers will do the walking…shopping for loved ones…I won’t be out fighting the crowds or running around from place to place trying to fit everything in with the exception of the most important thing…Christ.
The best gifts will be from family and friends helping me put up some decorations, my tree, and even this will be toned down a degree or two. Most of all…just visits…this year I will have time to just sit and talk with friends I haven’t seen in awhile…the best time spent at Christmas.
So I am calling the week before Advent… Exhale Week. I will take a deep breath and exhale away ridiculous expectations of a perfect Hallmark Christmas (no such thing) and instead breathe in the gift of now…not some date on a calendar…but truly strive to bring the symbolism of Christmas into my life every single day of the year.
And if I tend to be a little “bonkers” now and then and surround myself with other “bonkers”… it is just me being me…after all shouldn’t we, everyone, be Bonkers about God and Christmas!
So until tomorrow….Let us remember to keep walking forward along our path and not try to find our way back home…back home is always in front of us.
*I just received some sad news from Kaitlyn and her mother, Susan, concerning Susan’s younger brother, Rusty. He has been undergoing a lot of medical tests and was home for Thanksgiving but has had to return to the hospital…a tumor taken from his bladder has come back as cancerous and now one kidney isn’t working.
Obviously the whole family is worried and I know they would appreciate prayers for Kaitlyn’s Uncle Rusty as he awaits more information on his condition and especially this morning as he faces surgery. From experience I know you are some of the best ‘prayer warriors’ around and I, also, know the power of prayer firsthand from all of you. Let’s share it now with the Swicegoods. Thank you.