As I sit here to write at the bar in my kitchen, I’ve got to stop every few minutes to sneeze, blow my nose, add to the pile of crumpled kleenexes tossed about me. My stomach is growling as I wait for the eggs to boil for lunch. The kids and I have just returned from the library, a trip we ended early because the whining and fighting and overall lack of listening was about to hit an ultimate high.
’Tis the season.
And I know there are so many people who have heavier things on their hearts these days, pain or grief or loneliness, that pierce much deeper than my family’s snotty noses, our tired, restless bodies.
But where we might all differ in circumstances, both past and present, we are united in desire. To find a place of love and belonging. Of joy and peace. Of comfort and warmth.
This season can so quickly be consumed by lists and traffic and purging and cleaning. Yet it can and should be one of beauty, stillness, togetherness. These are true gifts. Ones we can give to someone. Ones we can give to ourselves. The magic of it all is that what we need lives inside of us. Including the humility to look for help.
We give in the little things, though I forget the simplicity of this truth far too often. But little is all we can do, me and you. And yet it’s what we have to do. What we’ve been designed to do. Believe me, your little thing can shake my world. It has power because I’ve felt it. As we show up for one another on this journey of life, we’re finding what we need. It’s never been about the what — what we give, what we say, what we do — it’s the how. It’s about my heart growing a few sizes. Changing a little to be more like His.
As Erin Loechner so elegantly wrote: “And I suppose that’s the heart of it: that I’m thinking less about the wisemen who traveled afar toting riches and gifts, and I’m thinking more about the innkeeper. The one who quietly served those nearest, day in and day out, and who – in the end – stretched out a bit of creativity to make room for something altogether lovely.”
’Tis the season.
I slip into my slippers the second I step into the house. I make myself a mug of tea when the boys head to their rooms for naps. I invite a friend over, even though supper’s not made and the laundry still sits in the basket. I curl up under a blanket and read a book for sheer pleasure. I turn off the radio and sing Jingle Bells with Dallas as we drive home. I dim all the lights and light all the candles, even though I’m the only one here. I mail a Christmas card to the parents whose grief runs very, very deep. I bring flowers to the neighbour who has just lost her mother.
I pray for more and more grace. To stop wanting, and to start saying thank-you.
I believe that in all of these very small things, we can experience the very big God. The one who first thought up the idea of beauty and splendour and joy. Who’s intent for us has always been love. Perfect, indescribable love. Who’s plan from the beginning of time was to call us to Himself, and send us out to be a light for one another.
This is all we have here on earth. Tiny glimpses of an invisible heaven. To dig with our hands in the dirt, tears on our faces, uncovering treasures and riches beyond our wildest dreams. Letting them into our hearts, and giving them, giving them, giving them away.