Sunday, December 7, 2014
So, the big, heavy, tattered-and-duct-taped-together monster of a box that holds our well-worn artificial Christmas tree waits to be dragged across tile and carpet to its traditional spot in front of our living room window. It took both Danny and me together, a team effort, to wrest it from the garage and into the house after mass last night, and now the box sits like a stubborn child, arms crossed and weight dropped low, as if to say, “Helloooo…I’m waiting, Sally. You are going to put me up, right?” And it’s not that I am such a procrastinator, but truly and unfortunately I must be in the “mood” to do almost everything. Art, dishes, laundry, writing, baking, everything but reading and praying. So “the box” is calling my name but right at the moment, it is just going to have to wait. The mood will come soon, I am confident of that, but probably not until later this afternoon, probably not until my prince husband comes galloping down the stairs after his nap and hoists the thing onto his shoulder or scoots the thing across the floor through the kitchen and onto the rug. Then, he will open the box and remove the branches, piling them loosely into groups according to length, and I will attach them to their tree “trunk,” feather them into something that resembles a real tree, and then let the trimming begin! With the proper mood in full swing, I will become a whirlwind of Christmas cheer and will enjoy every moment of it.
It’s a good thing, for my sake, that God is not confined in a duct-taped box, waiting around for me to get into the mood to place him in “his spot” front and center in my life. It is a good and wonderful thing that his Holy Spirit cannot be confined in a box, in our imaginations, in words, within a scheduled time, or kept in anything worldly at all. Whether I am “in the mood” or not makes no difference to God. Ready or not, here he comes this Advent. I have found this to be his way. When he has a lesson to teach me, a moment to share with me, or an inspiration to bless me with, he does it, right then and there. Often I am very slow to understand it at the time, but somehow I come to the meaning, like when I am painting. Applying water to paper before I paint, I watch the clean liquid sink into the cotton rag, until the glaze almost disappears. Then pigment added wet-on-wet spreads, flows all over the page. I tilt the board up and down, left and right, and watch the paint run wherever it will until it pleases me, until it settles in, paper accepting it as a partner.
This Christmas, celebrate the beginning of joy that will never end. Celebrate that God is not confined in any way, in box of our own making or of anyone else’s, and can flow like paint on paper throughout each moment of our lives. Oh, and do open the boxes in your life that need to be addressed, when you get in the mood, that is.