"Good morning, December. Welcome back, lovely one. I'm kind of bored with you."
These were my first thoughts this morning. I confess. They're not pretty.
I've spent quite a few years now numbing myself to the sights and sounds of December. The month begins, and I wrap myself in cotton to avoid feeling. There's too much to feel in this month of remembering.
I mean, come on. You're with me, at least a little bit, right? We all know what December has to offer.
Ribbons and tags.
The Angel gets his wings.
Even the novels bore me, all of them wrapping up with a Christmas miracle that I can see coming from chapters away.
Baby in a manger.
I'm sorry, and I'm embarrassed, but I'm bored.
You can count on me to tell the truth, and there's the ugly honesty. There are no new ways for me to think about Mary and Baby Jesus.
Except that all of the above is a lie.
It's not a lie I'm telling you, but a lie I told myself. I thought I knew all that December had to offer.
I'm in the throes of Beth Moore's study, The Quest. This morning, on the first day of December, her words grabbed me by the chin and held my eye contact so fiercely that I couldn’t look away.
She said, "Think about punctuation with me for a moment." (And of course I was in - hook, line, and sinker.) She talked about the difference between a question mark and an exclamation mark. The actual difference in the shape.
"We have become culturally influenced to pursue the exclamation marks. One straight line and then a big jump."
(That is kind of exactly what December feels like to me. Especially that stretch into December 22, 23, 24, my anniversaries of heartbreak.)
"But a question mark takes you on a winding journey. You think you're headed in one direction, but you go far in another, and there is always a gap of space before you ever get to the point.
You may think you don't want the mystery, but I challenge you: yes, you do.
Mystery means there is no mastery.
When you think you have mastered something, that means you have practiced or studied the mystery right out of it. You can have mastery, or you can have mystery."
And in my corner booth at McDonalds, I said out loud, "Yes. I want the mystery again."
So it's time to ask some questions.
I do feel like I had mastered December.
The silver bells.
The ribbons and tags.
The Angel gets his wings.
Even the novels.
And always the pursuit of not-feeling.
But it grows boring to feel nothing. And indeed, I have become bored with this month of feeling nothing.
I want the mystery.
December is filled with exclamation marks.
This time around, I'm embracing the question marks,
the winding path,
the wonder and the mystery.
A virgin birth, a baby king, the shepherds, the wise men, the star, the angels, the beginning… I want to know the story.
I want to ask the questions.
Tricia, you might find much to bring sparkle back into your Christmas season with John Piper's "Advent: The Dawning of Indestructible Joy," a daily devotional that spans December 1 through Decembere 25. He introduces us to the idea of being deliberate in "stirring ourselves up" and reminding ourselves about the joy of this time of year. Our pastor just purchased enough copies of this little book to hand out to every member of our congregation yesterday. This book is full of joy, and helps us to dispel that boredom, that ho-hum, that sleepiness that the rest of the world engenders, as it flees from the original message into the deceitful arms of earthly, desperate, temporary pleasures.
"there is too much to feel in this month of remembering" ---- yes, December has become somewhat hard as I face my son Drew's birthday and Christmas with an empty chair. I need to remember the good times --- but the good times hurt now. I need to focus on what this season is all about but my focus button is broken
right now. I pray and hope it will be fixed soon. Thanks for your words, they help me to know that there are people out there who may need to fix their focus button as well.
Don't be embarrassed about seasonal boredom. Wrap yourself in the cotton (if you want or need to), set the novels aside to collect dust for a month (if you want or need to) (they'll still be there after New Year's Day), and read Luke. Ask all the questions you want or need to (such as, what were Mary's thoughts and feelings after the angel come to her?) because the exclamation marks will still be there after New Year's Day. Ask your boys and your man what their thoughts and feelings are about the season. Ask, ask, ask. Keep the reason for the season fresh. And keep the poignant memory and love of your first man fresh. Ask, ask, ask. That's what He wants us to do. God bless you.
What Sally said. ^ Ask, keep the season fresh, and embrace all of the feelings. Sorrow, loss, joy, excitement, happiness, grief, LOVE. It's all there, wrapped up in December by a God who loves you and has never for a millisecond left you or forsaken you. Merry Christmas to you and yours.