Hours spent searching for the best possible gifts. (It took some divine intervention–I hate shopping.)
Time, energy and a certain skill with tape to wrap the purchased gifts. (The end always slips off the lip of the tape dispenser, making it close to impossible to peel it off the roll.)
Making sure everything was pulled out of the closet, from shelves and in drawers and made it under the tree. (Three hours after the gift extravaganza, I found the kids’ stocking stuffers in my room, stockingless.)
They were all wonderfully appreciative. Oohs and aahs mixed with thank you’s and hugs. It warms the cockles of this Nana’s heart.
What was fun was watching Isley unwrap gifts.
She didn’t really care what was inside them. The opening, the process of ripping off wrapping paper and tearing into boxes, was the highlight of her day. The gifts were kind of collateral damage.
“Can I open up something?” “Do I have another present?” “I can help you open that.”
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a wrapping artist. I grew up with a minimalist mom who used wrapping paper only, no bows. And the paper was always the type you got at the end of the season, the huge rolls with the funky designs that could look Christmasy or possibly pass for weird birthday wrapping. I know Isley’s wrapping frenzy had nothing to do with the fun of destroying beautifully wrapped gifts.
By the end of the day, in spite of the new stuffed polar bear and Lalaloopsy ponies, she was carrying around an old stuffed dog she’d dug up from the closet. She wanted to know if she could keep it.
I love Christmas and all it means. But sometimes I wonder if I’m drawn more by the outer wrapping than the heart of what it really is. The appearance of family-friendliness in spite of the fact that this holiday is exhausting. Preparing to make everything look good. And then it’s over.
It’s now after Christmas.
What I want to do is sit with the beautiful reality of God coming to us. To me. Because He loves me too much to leave me in my own darkness. In my own state of brokenness. I want to strip away the glitz and glitter and sit with the quiet of being loved well by a God who gave it all up to come to earth so He could get to know me.
Even if it was only me.
When Jesus was visiting His good friends Mary and Martha, Martha was running around making sure the house and meal were perfect for the folks who’d come to hear Jesus. In her home. And she was ticked with her sister for just sitting, listening to Jesus. She crabbed to Him, telling Him to tell her sister to get off her butt and help with the preparations.
Jesus consoled her.
“But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.'” Luke 10:41-42
Mary sat with Jesus. Listening. Being. Not doing.
Maybe, if I unwrap all my expectations and agendas, I can learn to sit. And listen. And be.