It’s the after-Christmas blahs !!! You know what I’m talking about. We gear up for Christmas with eager anticipation …the planning, the decorating, the parties, the lights, the family all around. It’s the “hap – happi-est time of the year!” But then everyone starts talking about our government “falling off the fiscal cliff” ?? … and New Year’s resolutions to make up for last year’s perceived failures …and how to lose those Christmas pounds we so happily put on …and the world as we know it has gone back to work and school and it seems the party’s over!
With all of that, I have to say, this was my best Christmas ever with all four of our adult children, their spouses and our three grandchildren being under one roof together !
We also got to spend precious time with my family in South Carolina and Tennessee — 3 of my brothers and their families and my Mom …
— and my husband’s family in north Georgia…
Such sweet memories were made throughout the holiday season.
The problem is, at some point, life had to return to “normal” and although we knew we couldn’t keep up the pace of late night games and movies and long conversations like that forever — and still function, that is — we were the happiest ever and we long for that same feeling to continue.
It was that dreadful Sunday morning when everyone left to return to their own homes and the house was quiet …too quiet. My husband and I sat on the couch. I cried and he sat quietly in his own thoughts. We knew this day would come and in some ways we welcomed back the “normal” but there’s just the sadness of all of us not being together every day and laughing and talking and playing games and eating together and just sitting quietly snuggled up together.
I looked over the house and the dishes that needed to be washed and did what seemed best — I crawled back in bed, pulling the covers up around me, and settled in for a long winter’s nap! This just happens to be my go-to response unlike my task-oriented husband who went to work on the kitchen clean up …while I was sleeping ! Thank you honey ! You really are the best … and I mean that !
All of the above responses would be okay if I had gotten up with renewed vigor and pulled out of the grief to move on with my life but when I woke up from the nap, it seemed I didn’t really get up. I stayed in the “pit of despair” (one of our favorite phrases from “The Princess Bride“).
I’ve been waking up each day and hoping I would really “get” up and “out” of this and it has seemed slow in coming — too slow !
As I read God’s word this morning I related to David when he said, “…if I make my bed in the depths, You are there” (Psalms 139:8) , and I know what it’s like to “make my bed in the depths”. I’ve been doing that all week. I don’t want to get out of this “bed”. As a matter of fact, I’ve been making my “bed” a little more cozy — bringing pop corn and chocolate into this pit with me …pulling up the covers of self-pity to warm me …sleeping on the mattress of insecurity and fluffing my pillow to cradle my mind’s wrong thinking. And this thought comes to mind …”Pull out Betty! Pull out ! You’ve hit an artery!” (another family- favorite quoted from Gary Larson‘s “The Far Side” comics when the mosquito, Betty, went in for her “meal” and got more than she bargained for , swelling her right up to nearly popping ! ) And although we’ve been mistakenly calling her “Marge” all these years, it could be any name for the sake of comparison. And I know I’ve hit an artery of depression and self-pity and I need to pull out from this strong flow of thoughts that I’m slurping up because they are actually sucking the life right out of me!
I love how God already knew these days would come and He already went to the pit for me …to be with me when I began to “make my bed in the depths.” He is there with me , gently picking up the bowl of pop corn and chocolate used for comfort and replacing it with His presence — wrapping around me like a warm blanket — and as He wraps Himself around me, He whispers in my ear how much He loves me and reminds me what He’s told me earlier of His plans and place for me in this season of life . He picks me up off of that hard mattress of wrong thinking and makes me lie down in spacious, “green pastures — beside quiet waters.”
And I know the calendar says Christmas is over but I’m slow so I’m still pondering this Christmas story a long time after the season is officially over — reading blogs and stories from the holiday season that I didn’t have time to read earlier. This one phrase from Ann Voskamp’s “A Holy Experience” blog regarding Mary arriving at the Bethlehem stable just in time for the birth of Jesus, keeps moving deeper and deeper into my soul ...”She had arrived at her place of deliverance.” She “delivered” her “Deliverer”. Her deliverance had arrived! And I think how long they had waited for the Messiah — their Deliverer ! Hundreds of years had been “in waiting” for this Christ-child Who would deliver them — and us — from sin and darkness ! The Light came and darkness had to flee ! God had now come to be “with us” — one of us ! He would know what to do to make things right. He would set the world aright. He would deliver us ! He has delivered us!
But I have to keep remembering this truth …My Deliverer came that day over 2,000 years ago! I have arrived at my deliverance ! YOU have arrived at YOUR deliverance. We aren’t waiting anymore …He is here ! Now ! …within reach!
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6
I live and move and breathe in the deliverance of Jesus Christ every day. You can too. Ah yes, He will come again one day with His ultimate deliverance but, until that next “coming” , He is still here with us! He’s with us when we feel we’re in “heavenly places” and when we “make our bed in the depths.” When He came, He stayed! He never really left. He left the Holy Spirit with us so we’d never , ever be alone again.
When I first accepted Jesus as my Deliverer, He wrapped me with the wrapping of His presence and sealed me securely with the ribbon of the Holy Spirit …and delivered me ! …a package deal ! …available to you as well ! But there’s also the ongoing, daily deliverance from the pits and pot-holes along this road of faith. Being a Father like He is, He wouldn’t just deliver us and set us on our way to fend for ourselves for the rest of the journey ! No ! He walks with us! Stays with us! Loves us wildly! Keeps delivering us along the way!
Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God,who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
Today, like Mary, “I’m arriving at my deliverance” ! The sun came out of the gloomy clouds of gray and the Son of God shed Light into my pit — bringing me up to that spacious place of lush , green pastures ! I may need to breathe this truth in again tomorrow –or even in the next few minutes — but I’m resting in this right now — He is the lifter of my head !
But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
Just like He lifted Daniel thousands of years ago …
The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. Daniel 6:23
He can lift you and me today …
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.