Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Ever get brain cramps? Today, mine’s worse than that. After finishing my duties, I sat down at this here laptop, fully intending to write this post in a flurry of flying fingers. And…then I played hearts for an hour, “brainstorming”. Because you can totally think about clever bits to write when you’re busy naming your opponents after the Pevensie children and getting all tiffy when you lose a hand. Welcome to my brain. Usually, I go for chess instead of hearts. Though I don’t really know why I choose that as my procrastination tool, since I loathe chess. Seriously. Little Miss Computer, would you stop killing my rook—I HAD PLANS FOR HIM!!! That goes for both my bishops and my queen as well, but I suppose you can have my remaining knight if that really makes you happy since I have my pawn in line to SLAUGHTER YOU if you so much as twitch wrong. And, if you have the audacity to try a checkmate on me, well, ctrl + z takes care of that quite nicely. I’ll just undo and undo however many times it takes, even though I really need to be doing something intelligent like editing my book or playing with Legos. By jiminy, I will win that game if it kills me. I dare you to defy me, metal machine. Today you have met your match.

The sad part is that, on a difficulty scale of one to ten (one being the lowest), I only have the program set to level three.

In other news, it’s Christmas Eve, just in case you…happened to forget or something. Silliness aside, I understand this isn’t a fun season for everyone. Maybe it brings back unpleasant recollections and unwelcome emotions. Holidays just aren’t the same when loved ones are missing—and there are other reasons for staying home and gritting your teeth when you hear carolers strolling by. May I offer my condolences? Hopefully this year you will find newer, better memories to help alleviate sorrowful histories.

Despite the hard knocks of life, I still find myself aging backwards as December 25th approaches. After the lull of procrastination and denial, comes the frantic rush of last minute loose-end-tying and then, without proper warning, Christmas Eve stumbles awkwardly onto the scene. The great, bushy pine staggers under the weight of lights and decorations, towering over a formidable pile of gifts that threatens to collapse at any moment and crush those unfortunate enough to stand too near.

Though I no longer bounce off the walls the way I did when I was five, I will still lie awake tonight, tingling with anticipation. Last year, after struggling for roughly thirty-seven point nine hours to fall asleep, I finally dozed off, only to dream I had slumbered through Christmas. Because that would totally happen. So it was with cold sweat and lonely shudders that I woke to the eager processional of cousins, punctuated with loud whispers and not-so-sneaky footsteps as we traipsed downstairs to the living room. There, spread out on the couches like lumpy cats, were our stockings. Traditionally, after gutting said stockings and dividing the spoils of war (that got morbid), we linger, laughing and raising a ruckus. But when the Starbucks gulped in a desperate rally to stay awake proves futile, sleepiness begins to drag at our satisfied lids, and we scurry off to store our plunder and to snatch a snooze.

Once the older, saner people have awoken and showered, breakfast finds itself scattered across the island, ignored by those with overly ambitious hopes of “saving room for Christmas dinner”. Before the meal though, and before the tryptophan-induced slumbers, comes the Grand Ceremony of the Opening of Presents (or something dramatic like that). Usually I get books (big surprise there) and the occasional strange gift. Our oddity of the year will be the custom wrapping paper with my cousin’s face on it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, because even before the meal and the presents comes the most important time of all. I’ll admit—when it’s time to read the Christmas story, as vital as it is, I’m always a little antsy to reach for the largest present with my name on it. It’s easier to cling to the tangible. That box is currently bigger in my mind than some baby in a manger, distant and far away. There’s no denying that I’m human, with a limited scope and a narrow focus. Still I can’t forget: 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17 *
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:1, 7-8). *

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:  that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15: 3-4). *

On this day, I remind myself anew why it is that I have hope, because for some marvelous reason that still blows my mind, someone loved me enough to become human, to walk the earth, to experience persecution and torture, and ultimately to offer his life in exchange for mine, and then to rise again, triumphant over death. If that’s not worth celebrating, I don’t know what is.



*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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