Monday Musings… Hark! The Herald Angels are Singing!!
In the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas, it’s easy to tune everything out around you as you plough through your shopping list, and try to winnow your way to the check-out with the shortest line. You all know, that no matter the line you choose, it somehow transforms into the longest wait time. Call it Magical, call it Murphy’s Law, but I’ve renamed it the Moses Lament, after the man whose upraised arms got so tired, he needed to call in reinforcements to last until sunset.
But did you ever think, there might be a greater purpose behind that unplanned and enforced waiting?
Standing in the shortest, now longest line at the ‘Big Box’ store, in a mind-numbing state, a faint melody pierced through my haze and awoke a memory of Christmas past. Funny how “joyful all ye nations rise” will do that.
‘T was the morning of Christmas 1996, Josiah rose first, followed by his little sis. Then came Sam who woke little Jake, And they stumbled and tumbled towards the baby gate.
Their stockings were hung on the staircase with care, In the hopes that they’d like their new underwear. The presents were wrapped with newsprint and bows, Disguising the contents of what we had chose.
There in the corner, was our daughter’s new gift; We felt quite certain, her spirits would lift! A Little Tikes dressing table, made of plastic in pink, With a mirror she could gaze at, and day dream, and think.
Her little feet leapt over couch, over stool We heard her mumble that “this was so cool!” She took one look into the mirror so bright, And shrieked so loudly, we all had a fright.
Her face had one mark, no wait there was more - Soon we had counted one hundred forty-four!! The pox of the chicken had laid its fresh eggs, On her face, on her stomach, and the back of her legs.
The gift of beauty had become a huge bust- Each look in the mirror was met with disgust. Her brothers laughed, which only made things worse- Until they too got poxed by that chicken curse.
That was a tough Christmas, with 4 sick kids under the age of 7. We were an hour and a half away from a pharmacy and a hospital. We had no internet to guide us with a YouTube video on how to stop the incessant itching. We had no family to lean on. It was just my husband and I taking shifts through the night tending to one sick child after the other. We longed for a silent night, but that would be many weeks away. Our ‘Holiday Special’ looked nothing like the Hallmark movies that are pumped out every season! I’m sure some of you can relate.
It would’ve been easy, and some would say acceptable, to wallow in self pity, grumble and complain much like we do in the check-out line at Christmas. But instead, we turned on the Christmas music and listened to the words to put our thoughts back in perspective.
Hark! The words reminded us that there is a King who has given us peace and mercy mild, no matter the storm we find ourselves in. The lyrics continued to tell us that this Lord came to earth to dwell among us, to give us light when we could not see, and life when we felt we could hold on no longer! This is the glorious reality of Christmas!
I’m so glad that our radio stations and shopping centres still play Christmas carols throughout December. It’s the one time of the year when everyone hears of the true reason for the season, even if the sound track is mixed in with Jingle Bells and White Christmas.
The message of Christmas, regardless of where you find yourself, is about hope. Whether you are struggling with grief, with pain or sickness, with loneliness, depression, or uncertainty, there is a place to put your troubles.
You may have heard the acronym for hope as: hold on pain ends, but you have to ask yourself who or what are you hanging on to, and for how long will you be pain free? Most people hang on to their own issues, internalizing their concerns, and trying within their own strength to push through. But human logic is faulty and frail; the human condition is bent from the outset. You must admit that your strength is limited, as Moses certainly discovered.
And what if your situation is such that you cannot see the pain ending? Then what you need is peace, the peace that transcends human understanding.
So, hold on, but to Someone who truly understands your grief, pain and sickness, loneliness, depression, and uncertainty. This One, born in Bethlehem, and whose praises we continue to sing century after century, has risen with healing in His wings and is waiting to hold you up, just like Moses. And when you hold on to the right Person peace enters, and this is what truly gives you hope this Christmas and always.
Life is all about waiting. And the unplanned and enforced waiting, which seems so much a part of our culture, actually makes it possible for you to stop and reflect, and listen for those angels whose voices are calling to you!