When the joy slips away

Categorized as  attitudes,  Christmas joy,  presence of Christ,  pressure,  stress, anxiety

Looking up verses on “rest” this morning, I find it there in Hebrews: “There remains a rest for the people of God.”  For anyone who enters His rest ceases from their own work, just as God did from His.

Big sigh.  Yes.  That’s where I need to be.

Thinking over the schedule, I change plans, grabbing Little straight from Daddy and heading for town.  If I stop at the house and grab the coupons, I can swing by the mall and get those two things I’m needing. I’ll rush him through and we’ll stop here and here, rushing home, and I will just have killed a whole flock of birds with one precious stone.

Only there’s this in the checkout line:  “Mama, I have to go potty so-so-so bad!”  Can’t you wait?  “No!” When I see him do “The Dance,” I know he means it.  Rats.

The lady at the register, doing her job, “Would you like this special, this offer, or that one?  Or how about pre-buying this movie?”  I smile politely, inwardly gritting teeth, “No, no, and no thank you,” before whisking Little as fast as his small legs can go allllll the way down to the restroom.

“Exchange his nightlight,” Mister says, handing me the pieces.  Obedient, I dash past the service desk, dropping it off before rushing through the aisles and filling my cart.  Why aren’t there any decent chips on sale?  Looking, looking…

We’re finally, finally in the checkout lane when it hits me – I’ve forgotten to pick up a new light for him, my unsettled, tiny nighttime sleeper.  You’ve got to be kidding me.  And I haven’t typed a word yet today!

Rushing (what else?) with him to the back of the store (of course), I find the lights.  Looking…looking…now where in the world?

There’s one left.  Snatching it up, we whisk back up to the counter, only to find that the line has exploded.  They’re multiplying like rabbits.  They are!  What…?

Little, chipper, is singing, showing his new light, spreading cheer while Mama steams, fumes, trying not to look like she’slosing her religion.

Hawk-eyed child that he is, he’d noticed the Starbucks we’d passed on our way in.  Foolish girl that I am, I’d said, “I will, but later.”  Now, hearing the clock banging in my head, I make a counter offer.  However, he’s resolute, and no amount of persuasive words can convince him to swap hot chocolate for a cheeseburger or chicken nuggets from McD’s.  Lord, help me not to lose it here.

We trot to the counter and place our order with the friendly barista.  She smiles, stirring his drink.  “He’s your youngest, isn’t he?”  Oh.  She remembers me.  This isn’t my regular place, but she remembers that I have boys and that I write.  Cheerfully, we trade talk about our small fry, and she slides our drinks across the counter.

He exclaims over the Christmas cup and hops into his car seat, joy filled, small heart happy.  Mama, sighing again, slides in behind the wheel.

And pictures Jesus sitting to the right.  She thinks of the Advent calendar she’s just picked up at the bookstore, and of the season’s gifts.  She wonders if maybe – maybe? – the gift He’d like most is a heart at rest, a heart at peace, a spirit filled with joy, content to sit at His feet.  Content to be.  Content to breathe Him in and out, drawing in grace, exhaling worship.

And you?  How do you keep your Christmas joy in the midst of the madness?  Your thoughts would be just lovely to hear.

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