Friday, December 4, 2009

Watch out for the "I" of the Storm

It is really a long story, but I was on the National Hurricane Center site looking up how to determine what level a hurricane is and read, "Depending on circumstances, less intense storms may still be strong enough to produce damage, particularly in areas that have not prepared in advance."

Ok. I'll tell you the story.

Salvation Army bell ringing was on the calendar for today with my son, Jeremiah. I was running late, trying to call the Salvation Army with a few questions, making final plans with other volunteers, throwing mittens, toboggans, and scarfs everywhere, and raised my voice, "Jeremiah, this is why you don't play in the closets, Mommy can't find..." and the Christmas Nativity music box spontaneously begins to play. Spooky? No, I just say, Ok Lord. I am not in the "Christ"mas spirit. I hear you. And out the door we go. This isn't going to be a barefoot day, is it?!

"Oh Great!" I say over the radio Christmas music. There is no one for us to relieve at the grocery store where we are to ring the bell. I worried about this! Where is the bell? Where is the bucket? I drive downtown to the administrative offices to get answers from the morning-long unanswered phone calls to learn, "Ma'am the bucket, bell, and sign are at the customer service desk at the grocery store." And, now back across town. But as we were passing through the thrift shop, I looked around. This is the spirit of "Christ"mas. God, thank you that I have the opportunity to buy new the things I desire and have choice to buy the things I need.

As we commence the bell ringing 11 minutes late according to Mommy's time, my son, once again, becomes my teacher. He tells each and every person "Merry Christmas" that passes through the door coming or going - a heartfelt, cheerful greeting to the sound of ringing bells. He didn't care what they looked like, if they donated or not, young in the cart or old holding on to one. He was the spirit of "Christ"mas. He gave "Christ"mas to everyone. It was beautiful. By the time he donated a toy sword to another charity later that morning, I was really feeling the weight of conviction. "Thank you young man. That will make someone a fine Christmas present!" Jeremiah answers the volunteer and says, "I know it will" as Love smiles on his face. He was the spirit of "Christ"mas. He knew the gift he gave was enough.

Now hours later, my confession slowly and painfully begins. I wasn't the hustle & bustle holiday mom endlessly shopping while commercializing and compromising Christmas. I was GIVING today for goodness sakes. Right?! Oh, so wrong! Father forgive me for I know not what I do. I was giving time, plans, and pursuits, but I wasn't giving YOU. You, Your Son, Your Spirit, or Your Love wasn't beging expressed to Jeremiah or others this morning. More than anything, you want people to receive Your gift of "Christ"mas...not benefit from any thing I might offer. I was so self-centered concentrating on what I was giving, I didn't let others see what You gave me. God, You gave yourself. Incarnate. Immanuel. Immaculate. God, you are the Spirit of "Christ"mas. How can a 3 1/2 year old give the right gift at Christmas and I didn't?! I am so sorry I gave of myself instead of giving YOU.

So after waiting with crowds to pay taxes, moving with snow-expecting crowds through Wal-Mart, and pulling into the driveway with a crowd of groceries to be carried-in I hear, "loves like a HURRICANE, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of HIS WIND and MERCY."
Today has ended barefoot, blogging, and blessed. I know that I am forgiven, I have seen the cross (see hurricane photo above) and will remember..."depending on circumstances, less intense storms may still be strong enough to produce damage, particularly in areas that have not prepared in advance."

God, prepare my heart to give this "Christ"mas.


Jennifer Stone Faragalli said...

WOW...WOW...WOW. When you post about Jeremiah, I feel like I know him...and even though we haven't met yet, I love him just as much as I love his mommy. Thank you for sharing April, I have been blessed!

Jilian said...

Great post April! Good food for thought :)

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written sweet friend and a reminder for us ALL! Thankyou for always being so willing to lay it all out there so we can be reminded by the reminders which have been given to you... Love you!

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