Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Am I Getting Ready For?

After making sure that I wasn't over the 20 grocery limit, I hurriedly emptied the contents of my cart onto the quick check-out counter. The checker went through the usual greetings and questions.

"Washington resident?" she began.


"How are you?" she continued.

"I'm well, thank you," I answered, glancing at my watch. Ten minutes and I needed to be home.

"Did you find everything you were looking for?"

"Yes, I did," was my reply (even though the selection of white tights for my girls was lacking -- I knew I didn't have time to explain it all).

Silence. I'm terrible at small talk. Another glance at the watch.

"Are you ready for the holidays?" she started up again.

My mind raced. I searched and faltered, "I'm getting there. I was able to do a bunch of shopping yesterday . . . and we got our tree up last week . . . ." I hesitated as if there should be more.

Again, silence. I felt like there was more to say. But how to summarize?

Her mind looped to the beginning of her check-out questions. "Did you find everything you were looking for?"

I pretended like it was the first time she had asked. "Yes, thank you."

And my groceries were bagged. We said goodbye. I left.

I wheeled that cart into the parking lot and felt a knot in my stomach as a gust of icy wind forced its way around my chilled body. What on earth was I thinking? Shopping? The tree?

And I realized that's just it -- I was thinking about . . . earth. I was thinking about man's version of "the holidays." Based on our five minute conversation, that woman had no idea that my preparations would involve -- or should involve -- anything more than presents and decorations.

Why should they?

Is that really all that I'm getting ready for? If that's on the top of my mind when someone asks about my holidays -- no matter how rushed I am -- it causes me to wonder.

And I grieve. Here we are, over a week into the advent season. Our family has so enjoyed our evening Jesse Tree devotions. I love it when we light the candles. I love it when my little ones read the Word. I've even seen a change in their demeanor as we work to memorize a passage that our pastor shared on Sunday:

So then let us pursue the things which
make for peace and the building up of one another.

But these preparations can't stay at home. I can memorize verses, I can light the candles, I can pray to be more patient with my children. But if it all stays shut up within these walls, then what's the point?

I want another chance. A do-over. I want to tell her that I am preparing for the holidays every single day. I am anticipating the celebration of Christ's birth. I am anticipating His triumphant return. And I am decorating and giving because I am filled to the brim with His love. That's what I'm getting ready for.

Scripture: Romans 14:19. Illustration by Tasha Tudor.
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  1. "I am anticipating His triumphant return."


    I think this year I am a little closer to feeling what God's children felt before He sent Jesus...that anticipation and at times dissatisfaction. More often than not, I do not have words for it. When asked, I mention the symptoms...not the problem: That my King hasn't returned! Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

  2. Thank you, Julianna, well said!



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