Waking up at 4:30am in the morning does not make one a very good parent, as was confirmed to me last week. The day began with allergies, a sink full of dirty dishes, and a prayer walk around the neighborhood. As I walked in the brisk morning air I prayed. What did God want me to write about this week? How could I look at Christmas differently and see it in a whole new, fresh way?
Later that very sleepy morning I was pouring Cheerios for well-slept children and sketching out some ideas.
What if, instead of only seeing the Baby this Christmas, we saw the Baby and the Man together at the cross. Seeing the Baby in the manger with His mother is familiar. What if we reminded ourselves that the Baby came only to become the Man that would offer His life up for us? And that young mother holding the Baby would one day mourn the sacrifice of her son?
I looked at my outline wondering how that could be written with promise rather than have it drip like a wet blanket. I frowned. Besides, that vision of the Man on the cross is not our end. The end of the Christmas story is not Good Friday. It’s Easter! The “end” is Jesus being raised from the dead victoriously, taking the sting of death and rejection from us all for good. But could you really consider that the “end” either? Is there an end? Could it be continual as I accept His saving ability with every wrong turn I take?
I crumpled the paper up and threw it away.
I was tired that morning. My eyes were heavy and puffy. The house was in a continual state of mess. The children’s mistakes in school served as a mirror to my failure to teach well. With every over-reaction I recognized my own foolishness, but I was too tired to change.
I got up to wash the breakfast dishes, and it was somewhere within those now-clean dishes or maybe it was in my tired reflection I saw in the kitchen window that the Truth shone clearly. I understood.
He had come. Jesus had come, wrapped in newborn form, for this very reason. The Baby came because I was tired and just couldn’t get my act together. When can I ever get my act together? He came because I was selfish. He came because I somehow choose foolishness over self-sacrifice more often than not.
It was why He had come. Because I can’t.
After a short nap on the couch and a quick lunch, I dropped the three older children off at golf class. “Better ten minutes late than never, right, Kaeley? Sorry, Honey.” I then drove around the course until the two-year old screaming, “I hit barf balls!” (meaning he wanted to hit golf balls) fell asleep.
I parked in front of the golf course and just melted in the silence and solitude and a McDonald’s chocolate chip cookie. The time was needed, but it was short. I knew it wouldn’t be long before the life picked up again and I was faced again with my inadequacies and dark circles under the eyes.
But I rejoiced, because I can. Because He came.