Well… today is the day that you get up a bit groggy from all the effort and energy that you have expended over the previous day(s) activities and walk through your once pristine living room now cluttered with piles of torn Christmas wrappings, open boxes and scatterings of popcorn, cookie crumbs and glasses smeared with a dried on golden substance from the egg nog that they held the night before. Once you get the coffee brewed and take that first sip, you sigh with a happy note and recall the fun time you had with family and friends over the Christmas celebration. Then, the mess in the house and the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink just don’t seem to matter anymore! The joys of the season take over as you allow the warmth of those good feelings to filter through your conciseness…
While I did not wake up to a dirty house this morning, I did wake up to many pleasant thoughts from an enjoyable Christmas experience the day before as Piper and I spent time with our older daughter and her husband at our home in the country. It was actually kind of a quick start day! I woke up, rolled over on my back and spent a moment reminiscing over the gathering with two of our four kids and then of the Face Time and phone calls with the other three kids in California and Oklahoma. Then I turned to my left to check out the clock to see how much more time I had before I needed to get up and was shocked to see that it was actually a half hour past my normal get up time!
I quickly rubbed my eyes and blinked a few times to make sure I was seeing correctly and like the classic Christmas poem says, “I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter!” Well, in reality I knew what “was the matter…” as I had overslept and if I was to keep a strict schedule on the application of Piper’s meds, I was supposed to be getting Piper up at that VERY moment!
But thankfully, a spirit of calm prevailed and I realized before I stepped into the bathroom, that with the company and events of the day yesterday, that I had been late in getting Piper her evening medicines and therefore was actually on schedule for today –WHEW! You have to understand that I really strive to keep my lovely wife on her schedule so as to lessen any cause for discomfort or distress on her behalf. I guess I get pretty hard on myself when I mess things up with her as my affection for her causes me to want to make sure that all of her needs are met BEFORE she has any problems!
So… after that little bit of trauma, the morning has gone well for us and Piper is now resting comfortably in her chair after having some Word, some breakfast and we read in the new book we recently started together called: “The Father and His Family” by E.W. Kenyon. It’s actually rather peaceful in the house right now while I sit here at the dining room table and reflect over our time spent with our kids. For me, our time together was just what the doctor ordered!
I don’t admit it too often but there are times in caring for my wife that I get a little lonely and a little worn over the situation and the demands of our daily routine. I have always worked at least two jobs (sometimes three!) simultaneously throughout our marriage and have seen some stressful times, but nothing compares to the energy and emotional output that one expends when caring 24/7 for a loved one… Especially when that loved one is the very heart and soul of your life!
So… the good conversation, good food (I BBQed some Ribeye steaks thinking it would be nice to shake up the usual Christmas meal of turkey and all the fixings!) and lots of good laughter was a bullseye on the target of my needs! Today will be a day to relax as I sit back (yeah right… sit back…) and meditate and reflect on the previous day’s events.
I noticed as I read from the Biblical Christmas story as described by Luke in chapter two of his gospel, that Mary also did a lot of meditation and reflection over all the events and conversations that surrounded the birth of her first born son. In verses 17-19 we find a lot of activity going on in the stable where Jesus was born as the shepherds and others in attendance conversed and theorized about the night’s activities.
It states that: “when they saw it, (the baby Jesus in the manger as the angel had told them) they gave them an account of the things which had been said to them about the child. And all those to whose ears it came were full of wonder at the things said by the keepers of the sheep. But Mary kept all these words in her heart, and gave much thought to them.” (The 1965 Bible in Basic English) This is said again of Mary a little later in the story when it describes the incident some 12 years later when Mary and Joseph found Jesus discussing deep religious truths with the priests in the temple after their yearly pilgrimage to Jerusalem. (See Luke 2:51)
I find a connection to Mary in these scriptures as I tend to be slow when it comes to making quick decisions or statements following startling or important events or situations that I am faced with. I am not sure if it is my ministerial background and training or just my personality, but I like to ponder over things that are said or done before I comment on them. I like to be somewhat confident that what I say next is going to be helpful in the context of the conversation… at least that is what I strive for!
Most Biblical scholars seemed to agree that Mary was most likely between twelve and fifteen years of age when the angel of the Lord appeared to her. She had to be a very mature and spiritual young lady in order to be hand-picked by Papa God to fulfill the responsibilities that He had planned for her to accomplish! I would imagine that those responsibilities rested very heavy upon her and that it was with much wisdom that she kept her thoughts to herself while she “kept all these words in her heart, and gave much thought to them.” Then when she spoke, I bet everybody listened with rapt attention!
What Mary did took much self-control, confidence and ultimate trust in her Lord. I think that she is a perfect example of the actions of one that walked in an intimate experiential knowledge of the love of God for her! Who knows… she might have been in the back of the Apostle Paul’s mind when he prayed for that special experience and knowledge to be a major foundation in the lives of those at the church at Ephesus. (See Ephesians 3:19)
That is the kind of experience and intimate knowing that Piper and I have come to find throughout this journey that we have found ourselves in with her health needs. Like I have said on countless other occasions, I don’t know what I would have done without the amazing realization of His love for the two of us! That intimate knowledge of Christ’s love for us has been the rock that has kept us grounded throughout the gale winds of this storm in our lives. It is also the foundation that has helped me to not make snap decisions or comments when negative things are happening at the moment and/or not progressing the way I think they should be!
Yes, Christmas is a time of giving, but it is also a time of loving and trusting the Lord… and in deepening your own intimate, experimental knowing of Christ’s love for you. That is what I plan to keep foremost in my thoughts throughout this last week of 2016 and it is also what I plan to focus on as I look forward to the New Year ahead! How about You?