I'm going to write this post before I lose my nerve. It may not be pretty...and if it's not pretty, what then?
What if this post leaves the reader less than hopeful? It would probably be no worse than what most readers are struggling with this time of year. I still have hope...barely! Having hope is not something I manufacture out of the lonely recesses of my heart. Only by the grace of God and His Word, with faith, do I lay claim to hope.
Certainly my faith and hope are, at times, as fragile as a spider's single shimmering thread that trails behind. Having thrown caution to the wind the spider flings itself out into an uncertain space to land on the first thing that stands in its way--another tree, a bush, a fence post, a person. I've had the experience of walking into one of those sticky strands, admiring the four to six foot span, seeing from where it started and where it landed. A ton of faith from such a small package.
I wouldn't make a very good spider. For one thing, I'm too cautious. I would spend everyday of my short life in the same place, too afraid to venture into the unknown. (Altho' I haven't always been that way). For another thing, I have an innate fear/hatred of spiders and their webs. If I were one, would I hate myself? Are humans the only creatures with an ability to hate oneself and express that hate in deplorable and terminal ways?
One of the advantages of having a cane is that I can wave it back and forth in front of me, wrecking spider webs before I walk into one. Hopefully, the spider itself will have been diverted by my cane so that I don't have the horror of walking into it face to face, as has happened to me (shivering). I have repeated dreams of spiders vaulting off ceilings, with me trying to divert them from my bed, too horrified to move and escape the room. I usually wake up before the dreams end, left with the pictures of my dreams and a feeling of dread. There have been occasions where a spider really will drop down in front of my face--what a sense of humor!
On occasion, I've been awakened by my husband because I was moaning in my sleep, when in my dream I was having a terrible time trying to call for help and couldn't scream. I'm sure most of us have experienced that, like the dream when we're falling and wake up with a jerk without ever hitting bottom. That's what I'm talking about.
So, by now, you're probably wondering what spiderwebs, fear of spiders, and waking from a frightful dream have to do with grace, faith, and hope, and why am I choosing to bring this all up now?
1) First, does our normal life take a break during this sacred time of year. In fact, we're in the middle of the bluest time of year when the skies are mostly cloudy and gray. Life itself can be pretty gray, what with all the colds and flu bugs going around. No doubt, we need something to remind us of hope, giving us a thread to hang onto.
2) Aren't the Silver Bells and songs about Sleigh Rides all a publicity stunt for shop-owners to get their greedy little fingers in our wallets. I'm ashamed to admit those gimmicks worked on me to make a Merry Christmas from consumable or non-consumable litter, and other stuff I thought made others or me happy.
Now, that I'm 65 (gasp, I just gave away my age!), I still try to make others happy because they give me a list of stuff they say will make them happy. Harrumph! Just call me Mrs. Scrooge. If my retirement allows for the extra money needed to buy those items, than I'll be happy to buy and give. Can any-thing I choose to buy or make out of my small means compete with Smart Phones, Wii's, and iPads, or Ipods?
3) Perhaps it will be the thoughts and heart of the giver that will make the difference. Of course the receiver has to be careful of their reaction (excluding anyone from one to ten who find it impossible to lie). I can read several different languages: English, emotional response, those windows of the soul--the eyes, to a certain extent--the mind, and whole-body language. Of course, how I react is most likely read by the gift-giver as well. Reaction is more truthful than words--that's what I'm talking about.
Have I made any sense at all? If you say 'yes,' you get an A. If you disagree or find fault with any or all of it, well you still get an A for staying and reading my stuff and nonsense.
The Love of God, Jesus and His Spirit, and the Word be with you.
P.S. I'm not to be cynical about Christmas music. I love to listen to it anytime of the year. I especially love the ones with the real message of Christmas.