Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The People We Love Are God's Way of Saying We Are Not in Control
Because I don't like to panic, I try to get things done at a sane pace during Advent. My husband has not always shared my perspective. It's not that he likes to panic, but he does tend to do certain things at the last minute.

For years now -- decades, really -- he's been scheduling certain Adventy things on, oh, about December 24th.  No matter how much I planned ahead in order to have it be a low-stress day, he always had some last-minute shopping to do, or all of his gift wrapping, or ... you get the picture.

And so, each and every Christmas I'm reminded that I'm not really in control of my whole world. (Ummm, well, I actually get that reminder far more often than once a year, but for now we'll stick with the Christmas theme.) 

Kids are great for reinforcing this cheery holiday message, too. They can turn everything into a teachable moment, like the year my daughter started throwing up just as our Christmas guests arrived.

The other day, I was working out and watching an old Thirtysomething. Ellyn, Hope's Friend Who Had Commitment Issues, was lamenting her confused life and envying Hope's perfect one. Hope vented back that life was crazy, that she had no idea what she was doing as a parent, her in-laws were nuts, the mortgage was scary, the house was falling apart, and nothing was ever really easy.

"Hope," said Ellyn, clearly taken aback by the shipwreck of Hope's life, "how can you live like that?"

"Lynnie," said Hope, also taken aback that Ellyn didn't get it, "that's love."

Love makes us change our schedules and our plans. Love interrupts long-term goals, dreams, and visions. Love wraps presents at the last minute, throws up as a car pulls into your driveway, turns you into a woman you never thought you'd be and humbles us. Love reminds us that we are not in control.

Love came to us two-thousand years ago, and He comes to us still. When He came to me, I lost all semblance of control over my life. I said yes to things I never thought I'd do, and embraced ideas I used to think were crazy.

"Karen," you might ask, "how can you live like that?"

"How can I not?" I'd reply in disbelief, "that's Love."

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