Jeanette Doyle Parr
Old Ebenezer Scrooge, during his pre-dream days, would have been proud of me that Christmas season. I’d started sprinkling “bah, humbugs” around just two short weeks after Thanksgiving.
Weakened by a recent bout of flu, I was physically and mentally exhausted. For the first time in my life, the Christmas season wasn’t proving to be a time of spiritual uplift.
Oh, I’d seen the looks my children had exchanged each time I snapped about Christmas-cookie messes, or tried to hurry clumsy little hands as they wrapped presents. My husband began retreating each time I lamented the high cost of gifts and how commercial Christmas had become, and it wasn’t long until even the dog was avoiding my sharp tongue.
And each morning, determined that this day would be better, I’d vow to be more patient. But by late evening, I was usually complaining about, or to, someone.
Now, on December 22nd, I had another problem. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the angel wings straightened on my little girl’s costume.
“Put it on again, Kris. Let Mama see what she needs to do.”
Happily Kris put on her costume and slipped her halo over her shining blonde hair. The left wing tilted toward the floor.
“Can I practice my song while you fix me, Mama?”
“I suppose so,” I sighed. “Just don’t wiggle.”
Her back to me, she began singing in her thin, childish voice,
Oh, come all ye hateful,
Joy, Phil and their trumpet,
Oh come ye, oh come ye to Bethlehem…
My hands stilled. Unexpected tears spilled from my eyes, ran down my face, and splashed on the glittering wings.
Oh come all ye hateful. … That was me all right. No wonder Christmas hadn’t been the same. I hadn’t gone to Bethlehem.
Not once during the entire holiday season had I paused to reflect on the miracle in the manger. My early-morning quiet times, usually devoted to Scripture reading and prayer, had been filled with extra baking, wrapping, and sewing.
Kris wiggled around to face me. “Are you crying because I sang too bootiful?”
“Yes, baby, because it was so beautiful, just like you … and like Christmas.
I gave her a big hug and silently vowed that the rest of Christmas would be beautiful, because I would take my hateful spirit to Bethlehem.
I smiled again. Joy, Phil and their trumpet—we’d all go to receive the eternal gift.
During the Christmas season, do you feel like a little boat floating on the big ocean? There are lots of waves and swells. There are currents, tides, and often wind or storms. You are the little boat trying to navigate through all these things.
Sometimes you have to put your sails out to catch the wind; other times you have to bring your sails in. At times you have to sail straight into the storm; other times you have to let yourself drift until it passes.
But the main thing to realize is that if you ask Him, Jesus will be there with you. He can calm the storms; He can smooth the waves. He can even walk to you on the water if He has to. And if things get too rough, you can always call out to Him and ask Him to calm things down for you.
He’s right there with you and wants nothing more than to help you make it. And just like it says in the Bible story when He walked on the water, Immediately the ship was at the land (John 6:21). He’ll do it for you too if you ask Him. He’s done it before. He can do it again.
- Robert Rider