“I’m feeling very thin and vulnerable, in a good way.”
Amy Layne Litzelman
It hit out of nowhere. The flu.
It started as a simple little sore throat the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Soon the “dripping facet” phase kicked in, and I couldn’t get Kleenex’s to my nose fast enough.
The bug hit my vocal cords next leaving me speechless for almost a week. Which some may not have thought such a bad outcome. But, then, gravity pulled it all down into my lungs and the coughing fits began, leaving me exhausted.
I won’t bore you with any more details. But, let’s just say there is a reason why I’m sharing my woes with you.
You see, it’s the holidays. And with the holidays come certain expectations.
Gifts, for one. As I’ve been incapacitated these days, shopping is out. Fortunately, we live in the days of Cyber deals. So at least I’ve got that one covered.
But, there are other expectations.
Like cookie baking. By this time in December I would’ve had several varieties of Christmas cookies made and in the deep freeze. But, this year I just baked my first batch. And it may be the only batch.
Like decorating. Most of my decorations are still in plastic bins out in our garage.
Like hosting parties. Due to my nasty bug, there will be no parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting or caroling out in the snow...
I find it all a bit depressing not being able to pull it altogether and create the kind of Christmas we’ve had in the past.
But, I know that I’m not the only one struggling to keep up this Christmas.
Many of you out there are facing into much more serious issues than my little bug. Some of you are battling cancer. Others have lost jobs. And you are wondering how you are going to make the season bright, let alone make it through at all.
Some of you are facing into divorce, or children lost in a cycle of poor choices. Family crises have a way of dampening any day, let alone the holidays.
Others of you have lost precious family members or friends this year. And you’re wondering how in the world you will be able to celebrate the season without them.
As I sat pondering this, a thought crossed my mind…
Maybe it’s when we find ourselves in this most vulnerable state, this place of dependency…when all the wrappings of Christmas lose their luster…that we are nearest the truth of what the holidays are really all about.
“You will never truly realize God is all you need until He becomes all you have.”
Maybe that’s what the Christmas story has been telling us all along.
God sent his son into this world as a little babe. Dependent. Vulnerable. Helpless.
The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem! How will you recognize him? You will find a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger…in a bed of hay!”
Jesus didn’t arrive to glitter or glitz. To gilded wreaths. To decorations. To stockings hung on the chimney with care. No holiday cookies. No twinkling lights—save one! And there was no banquet fit for a king—but, that comes at the end of the story.
He did receive presents, however.
When the wise men went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. They took out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and gave them to him.
What if this year we struggling souls let go of what was? Of what we can’t do. Of what we don’t have. And offer the Savior what we do have.
A gift of great worth…
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.
Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
Our hearts...and our worship…
O worship the King all-glorious above,
O gratefully sing his power and his love:
our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
in you do we trust, nor find you to fail.
Your mercies, how tender, how firm to the end,
our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!
Robert Grant (1833)