I was given a gift earlier this week. It was a 2 hour delayed school time, because of the possibility of freezing rain. I sat around all that morning reading social media and thinking that I had all this time. No rushing around and becoming the army sergeant that I become every morning before school. Where I need to bark orders and threaten punishment for insubordination. I look up and I think, someone must have played a trick on me, because two hours have past. I push and I growl to get these teens to school on time and end up being late anyway. I did nothing with my gift, except waste it away.
I receive many gifts throughout my days and I gobble them up like they were candy. I barely taste their sweetness before I am forced a dose of foul-tasting harshness that life serves.
I went to church last Sunday and the service was so beautiful. It was a Christmas concert with the choir and orchestra. My husband was playing in the orchestra and I was surrounded by my children it was truly a gift. Made foul by a comment from one person who thought we had no business being there. It darkened the experience. I am trying to wash that bitter taste out of my mouth. Spit it out and not accept it. I have that choice of which experience I want to focus on, the bitter or the sweet. How do I keep the bitterness from becoming overpowering? I know it is foolish to think that I could have a life without it. I know that life is hard and people are mean. I know I spew my share of foulness as if that will corrected it. I know that bitterness will not subdue bitterness. What is one to do when it infiltrates the mixture of life? Open my eyes Lord, so I can see.
Christmas is here and the holiday is hard for all of us. It is impossible to focus on the how wonderful Christmas is when one of my own is missing. Sadness drapes itself upon our household and it is hard to see past it. I finally put the Christmas tree up this weekend, I had to push myself to do it. As I was decorating the limbs, a chore that falls solely upon me, I reminisced of a Christmas long ago and of a small boy of about three years of age, whispering in my ears at 3 am to tell me that Santa has come. I also remember, how tired I was after being up with his baby sister for most of the night. I did not recognize that moment as being a gift. That it would be that memory of that sweet little voice, twenty-three years later that would help me decorate a tree I did not want to decorate. Yes, that sweet boy will be the gift I am missing this year and every year that follows. I decorate for that memory and all the other memories because I do not want the sweetness to end. I want beauty, joy and love to spill over, because if I don’t all I am left with is bitter.
The lesson is to savor those special moments and beloved people. Adding these memories to the mixture balances the unpleasantness of everyday living. Could this be what Christmas is all about? A day full of good to counter the bad? The precious gift of Jesus could be the remedy to the effects of bitterness. Could I contribute to the mixture? Could I be a gift?