Lauren Reavely

Forget the Lists

Happenings, Rants, LifeLauren EdmondsComment

No alarms were set this morning, and I write, eggnog and cinnamon roll in hand, new slippers on snug. There is so much good to write about today--post-Christmas-praise.

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But some of us didn't wake from so silent of nights. And there was chaos and there were expectations and there was let-down. We took our eyes off the star and buried our faces in the maps when if we would just look up. 

It happens nearly every December 26th. I wake up and wonder: did I remember Him this time? In the haze and the daze of it all, did I see and worship God becoming flesh? Did I share in the shepherds shock and eager clamoring to see the baby king? Did I huddle, in the hush and quiet, around Creator with skin and bones and heartbeat? Did I share in the pondering and soaking in like Mary, overwhelmed with this 9-month turn of events for her world? 

But if I'm honest, it sure felt more like walking the tightrope of family tensions, of clamoring for that last piece, of young ones making demands. There were tug-of-wars with toys, everyone fighting for his own. And I woke this morning to inbox filled with discounts and deals for all those who didn't get everything on their wish list. 

As if we deserved it. 

The joy of giving and receiving gifts is meant to be in the thrill and surprise and wonder that someone would delight to be generous to you and you to them. The joy of gifts is that you don't get coal when you're naughty and good toys as a reward for good. Gifts are grace. And by definition, grace is gift-undeserved. To think that anyone owes us anything is to live in warped reality, it's to assume you're entitled to all your wishes, when really, you're the one in debt. 

Entitlement is the enemy of joy. 

So this Christmas, I set all expectations and wish lists aside and opened packages of homemade hats and wool blankets and knit mittens and filled with thanks. That there would be people who love me and poured it out in boxed up gifts.

It's a reflection to me of Creator who compressed into small skin, not for the religious who expected and demanded and set up their own lists, but for the undeserving, amazed ones. He--entitled with all titles--He invited the indebted in at no price.  

"The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger, in all our trials, born to be our friend. He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger. Behold your King, before Him lowly bend."

So we can open up hands and bend low, with all our deepest needs filled by God With Us, and give and receive with joy. We can delight and amaze that God would gift His Son; and all other gifts are just extra graces piled on. So forget the lists and wants and wishes and count the needs He's met with the gift of Himself.