Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hand of God

I always set myself up for failure at Christmas. Lofty goals, dreams and too, too many images of what Christmas *should* be for our family. Happens every year. Something doesn’t go the way I want it to, something doesn’t get done (or done on time)…it’s always *something* pushing me over the edge. I prepare for this and plan to make things better each year, but somehow, my holiday disappointment always takes me by surprise.

And I struggle. Struggle to remember the WHY of the season. Platitudes and pithy sayings are all fine and good, but when you are wrestling with 18 teacher gifts (none of which can mention Christ!), 10 events to bake for (don’t forget that Susie is allergic to nuts), a mountain of presents to wrap and mail (preferably by mule train), a Christmas card list to maintain (did Bob & Jane move this year, or was that last year?)…and don’t forget the usual day to day business of running a family (did you know that they still need clean clothes & warm food at Christmas?)! Those pithy sayings are for the birds. (Just telling it like it is, folks!) I KNOW Jesus is the reason for the season, now get out of my way and let me get all this stuff done so I can celebrate, dagnabbit!!

Awhile ago, I stumbled on a much needed oasis, a local Christian radio station, WGTS. During the holiday season, they play all Christmas music. LOVE IT! And what a wonderful variety. I really enjoy hearing my favorite contemporary Christian artists singing Christmas classics: Jars of Clay’s version of Little Drummer Boy and Nichole Nordeman’s Do You Hear What I Hear? are among my new faves. For all the times I’m in my car, this station plays and gives me an opportunity to really hear and appreciate the gift of His son. Now that the Christmas cards are in the mail, I’ve got a chance to really reflect on what some of the music MEANS…

I think we all have our versions of God’s image. Snapshots, if you will, of God in His various forms. One that has always touched me is Michelangelo’s painting from the Sistine Chapel, the Hand of God, giving life to man. I have always loved this image, though I can’t really say why. Just something at the core of me that calls out acknowledging His breath of life to men, I suppose.

Today, on the radio, WGTS played a song by the Newsboys called Adoration. I’ve heard the song before (love it!), but never really paid much attention to the verses. This one caught my ear and the image has been with me ever since:

And with barely open eyes
He takes my finger
And He won’t let go
And He won’t let go
It’s nothing like I knew before
And it’s all I need to know

The Baby Jesus, God Incarnate, grasping my finger and holding fast.

I’m a mom who has cherished each and every time one of my beasties did this, but somehow, I never envisioned this moment between my Creator and me.

Beyond the manger and the Christmas season, I’ve never dwelt on the person of Christ as a baby. I know the story, so do you….but what does it mean when a baby—THE baby—chooses you? Clings to you. WOW.

He called me to choose Him, to turn my life over to His control. But here’s the part that I’m finding brought home to me with each day…and today through this song….He chooses me right back and pulls me to His side when I lack the strength to stay there on my own.

Casting Crowns, in their song East to West, says it oh so well:
I know You've washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals
I'm not holding on to You, but You're holding on to me
You're holding on to me

Why, in all the time I’ve been a Christian has this not come to me before? NO clue…except that maybe I’ve been relying on myself too much?

I know He gives me everything I need—and always so much more. What I didn’t know—duh!—is that “everything” includes the strength to constantly rely on Him.

Creator, Father God gave me life, breath and a soul that cries out to know Him. The Holy Spirit has opened my heart, interceded for me in prayer, given a voice and an audience when there were no words. And the Baby Jesus sent a summons in the grasping of a finger…"come and stay near.”