Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Christmas Metaphor

Christmas is disruptive... especially in our little house. Our house, which is small enough that we have to really work to keep it tidy and uncluttered, can become overwhelmed very quickly. The christmas tree, even when we choose the smallest, Charlie Brownest one, still takes up half the living room. The wreath over the mantle... the garland snaking amoung the candles. The gifts. The gifts, even when we have requested none for ourselves and begged for restraint for the children, end up spilling into the dining room, the sleeping porch, into what is left of the sitting area. Before Christmas, it is controlled chaos. But, the morning of Christmas, any semblance of order has vanished. The house looks, literally, as if a bomb went off. Even an concerted effort to manage the trash leaves piles of it everywhere. Toys willy nilly. My brother's dog beds for his two geriatric goldens. To heck with the savior.... I have no place to lay MY head.

My husband and I felt edgy yesterday. Finally, we couldn't stand it any more and took down the tree and stripped the christmas decorations. We vaccuumed and packed all the toys back in boxes and bags and brought them up to the kid's room. We wanted, desperately, to have our space back to normal.

Which is precisely when it struck me that the chaos of the Christmas holiday is the exact right metaphor for the real deal. In my life, becoming a Christian was the same kind of out of control, somewhat uncomfortable, turning my life upside down event. What was cozy and familiar was suddenly strange and overwhelming. What had been calm was suddenly full of emotional intensity. What was safe was suddenly, forever, edgy and elusive.

Jesus has disrupted my life just a surely as an HO scale train set running through the living room. I used to be able to walk through my house, and my life, in the dark. But now, I trip on obstacles. Find treasures. Stumble on gifts in all kinds of unlikely and unexpected places.

Christmas is disruptive. And while sometimes I have to fight the desire to return it all back to 'normal', I am learning, gradually, to sit in the mystery of Jesus' disruption. To let him wreak havoc on the status quo of my life. To give him room in my heart to make a mess.

And to be grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank God.


Mary Beth said...

Oh, this is wonderful! I have been working on the idea of Christmas being unexpected, and disruptive is the perfect segue for further pondering.

Finding you via RevGals has been a highlight of my year! Keep writing, you inspire me all to pieces!

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Isn't this community wonderful? I am so grateful to have found it! I love your idea of Christmas being unexpected. I am going to meditate on that too!


Quotidian Grace said...

Great analogy comparing the messiness of Christmas decorations and debris with how the coming of Christ disrupts our world. Thanks!