This year Christmas feels heavy. Maybe I’m just getting older and don’t possess the same level of energy required to face the crowds. Nope, don’ t think it’s that.
Maybe it’s a storm of medical bills or the circumstances of life that, like lightning, strike deeply into my heart this year.
Maybe it’s the weather. Seventy degrees the week of Christmas is unheard of in Tennessee. The rain doesn’t help either. I’m thinking of buying one of those lights to sit under to raise my mood.
In so many ways this year, I feel tethered to the ground. No one awful thing is hanging around my neck but rather a series of regular, we all go through this stuff, kind of ropes tied to anchors deep in the ground. Picture a hot air balloon. I was made to fly with a freedom that cannot be described, but here I sit, a gloomy Gus. Or at least that’s where I sat last week. Four days ago is when the un-tethering began.
There I sat—driving from North Carolina to Tennessee. Somewhere in Greenville, SC a red car passed me. In the back seat sat a teenage boy with wavy blonde hair. Our glances met and he smiled. His was not just an ordinary smile. It was un-usual. The red car continued, but in a couple of minutes I passed it again. The boy was looking for my gaze. When I looked over at him, he intentionally smiled. Game on. Something seeped inside me and began to untether the heaviness. This went on several times. Finally, I was determined not to smile when we passed one another. And I was successful. I didn’t smile. Instead, I broke into that kind of crying belly laugh that embarrassed me so bad I refused to even look at the kid again. I needed to pull over. Smiles are usual but not this one, not this year.
Another un-usual thing occurred that served to untether my humbug. In church Sunday morning a friend stopped me on my way out and spoke words of life that I longed to hear and needed so desperately. How did she know? The words. The tears. The heart connection further untethered my heaviness. Kind words are usual, but not these, not this year.
Today is quiet and rainy and dark and, yes, a bit heavy, but there’s a smile on my face simply because I’m a little freer to fly. As I put these words together I feel the untethering that writing provides for me. A freeing I haven’t indulged in a while. So, yes. It’s been an un-usual Christmas. It’s been the same old, same old but it’s also been deepening.
How precious to read the un-usual words of Christ, no longer a Babe, but an untethering Savior, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV.
Merry, freeing, wonder-filled Christmas!