Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Light of Christmas Pt. 5 {A Gift Rejected}

continued from Pt. 4

I married my high-school sweetheart  two days before my 24th birthday, and we began our own Christmas traditions in a war-free zone.  Each year I greeted the season with excited anticipation, joyful singing of words-I-did-not-understand-called-carols, and a temporary peace as once again the daily bustle stopped in reverent awe. 

Each year Dec. 26th came with familiar dread, a pit of emptiness, unmet expectations and a greater searching for some unknown thing, feelings I would bury underneath the busy routine of life.

The waves that tossed me to and fro daily grew higher and stronger.  The let-down of Christmas grew heavier and heavier with each passing season, burdened now with the guilt of over spending to feed a void which would not be filled.
Each Christmas I groped more urgently in the dark for a light I could barely see, reaching for something or someone, but not knowing what it was.  I was like a blind man reaching, flailing, fumbling in the dark for a steady hand I sensed was there, but knew not where to find it.
For “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?”  Rom 10:14
My first born was three years old the first time I dared darken a church doorstep at Christmas, and I made sure it wasn’t a preaching service.  You see my mother-in-law had begun taking my son to Sunday school, and this day was the Christmas play.  My son had learned his one-liner of the Christmas story, “they presented gifts to Him; gold, frankincense and myrrh” .  In his three year-old shyness and mumbling, the audience heard, “anannah, annnan,nanananna.”   He smiled, and bowed and walked his white-haired, blue-eyed face off that stage just so proud.
Then, to my chagrin, the preacher got up to say a “short word”.  He said “Thank-you”.  Then quickly got to a sermon before anyone could escape and began preaching about the real meaning of why we were all gathered.  Trapped in the front row, all I could do was listen. 

I don’t remember what he said, but he quickly had my attention and it wasn't his loud voice that spoke with booming power that had captured my focus.  That random person he spoke of in his mini-sermon, it was me, described to a ‘t’ – so much so, that I was wondering how on earth he could know what I was going through, what I was thinking.  
Something took hold of me that day.  Something the preacher said made sense, the words got through, if only for a moment.  There was a temporary peace surrounding me as I left that church carrying my shadow with me from its doorstep, words of a preacher echoing deep within me.
It was as if He said to me that day, “Awake, you who sleep.  Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” 
And I said, “Maybe”. 
Then I said, “No thanks”.
“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” John 3:120
He was willing to give, but I was not willing to receive. 
And a gift cannot be given, if it is not accepted. 
I chose to reject the gift.
to be continued..... 


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