Wednesday, December 17, 2014

some holiday thoughts from the homegoods' aisle

{a short encounter from earlier this month ...}

i survived a cart crash today.
car(t), not car.
a shopping cart, to be exact.

she turned the corner and -- smash!
our plastic carts collided in the aisle of homegoods.

it wasn't that black friday frenzy, just a normal first thursday in december.
i'm not sure about her, but i was only minding my own business ...  looking at bath towels, if you must know.
there was no mad dash for a must-have purchase, nor was i in hot pursuit of an unbelievable deal.

but we crashed and, for a quick moment, she looked crushed.
a frazzled woman and her very full cart.

"i'm sorry," she said, "it's been that kind of day.
actually ...  it's been that kind of month."
(i refrained from pointing out that it was only the 4th of december).
"so sorry, just hoping to get it all done ... you know..." she laughed at herself.

a shoulder shrug and she steered around me, away in a rush of holiday hurry. and that was that --
my brief encounter with yet another december-wild-woman amidst the mayhem of merchandise.

"it's the most wonderful time of the year," piped from the intercom above, accompanying our little scene.
i stood watching her push into the weight of her ladened basket and, despite the
lilting music swirling around our aisle, i felt her heaviness.

i didn't know her and had no idea her story, but, still, could almost feel her hopelessness.

(we don't have to chalk that up to my being incredibly intuitive, more likely, just a little bit weird).

her words, "just hoping to get it all done ..." traveled with me the rest of the day.

and she wasn't the only one. i've sensed it elsewhere this week --- yes, even in my own home.

this feeling of false hope.

this: it-will-all-be-okay-if-i-can-just-get-it-all-in-the-basket-and-push-it-all-to-the-checkout-line-or-finish-line-or-whatever-line-of-christmas.

it will all be okay ... IF. I. CAN. JUST. MAKE. IT.

the race toward the 25th
the rush of the holiday.
the run of our december.

a countdown to the coming of christmas.

a hopeless hope.

everyone nodding and gathering and decorating in hopes that maybe this year - this year - it will all be right. it will all be beautiful. it will all be - surely - the most wonderful time of the year.

if we can only make it to christmas ...

kind of like that game we played at parties when we were children: the race where you carry an egg on a spoon across the backyard.

some of us are treating christmas just like that: eggs on spoons and finish lines.

all will be right with the world if we can keep focused, stay fast, be balanced and brave.

heads down and feet in motion. joy to the world and jingle bells.

and we hope.
with anticipation.
teetering on the very edge of our december toes ...

for christmas to get here ... for hope to arrive.

and the funny thing is, we're not that far off.
finding hope in christmas is kind of the point, right?

we just have our human way of messing up the holy wonderful.

Jesus came down, heavenly babe to lowly manger, in the name of hope.
Jesus traded the wood of cradle for the wood of cross because He is hope - the only hope.

it's not about getting the presents bought or the tree decorated or the parties perfectly planned ...
it's not about getting to christmas ... it's about getting christmas.

getting it.

getting what it really is.

Jesus in the manger.

Jesus who became a gift that we might get grace.
Jesus who became human that we might have hope.
real hope.
not just our casual crashing in the homegoods aisle hurried kind of hope.
but, the real thing.


hope doesn't come from making it to christmas.
hope comes when we make it to Christ. 

and when we make it about anything else, we make it harder. we make it less about hope in Him and more about hope in our hurry and that's exactly what leaves us feeling heavy in a season which should be all about finding light.

oh dear ones, were you scrambling today?
was your list long and your time short?
have you been going full-throttle since thanksgiving?
does your holiday hustle have you hard by the throat?

what is it that you are pushing around today in your race to the christmas finish line?

my suggestion: crash that cart of hurry and walk away from that version of hopeless hoping.

sit by your tree.
tree not decorated yet?
then sit by someone else's tree.
or go outside and find a tree.
or forget the tree ...
and just sit somewhere.

but be still.

spend some time in true advent.

PAUSE the hopeless activity of hurry and PONDER the hopeful awaiting of the Holy one -- Jesus.

because whatever we are piling high in our carts isn't all that important when we take time for looking low into the perfect manger.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Oh, hooray! I love this, especially the last bit about the tree. "Just sit," yes? And there He'll be, always: "God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though he is not far from each one of us." Acts 17:27. He is so very near. Immanuel!