When I was a little girl (and even into my middle school years) I loved to go to the park. We had a public park in the center of one of the neighborhoods about a mile from my house and right around the corner from an elementary school. There were rocking horses on huge springs, slides, swings---and the best merry-go-round. Now, the space has been totally renovated and mulched. In it's place stands a very expensive, "up to code and safety standards" park. It's very nice and very "kid-friendly".....but I miss the simple rides....the ones made of metal that would take the skin right off your hands on a hot summer day in Florida...the slide--so hot it made you scream in pain because no matter how hard you tried to go down WITHOUT your legs touching---they always did. But boy......did that slide make you FLY!
The merry-go-found was my favorite. It wasn't huge. It was quite rusty in places and it squeaked....but man would it go fast.....especially when one of my friends would spin me around. I remember hanging my head off looking upside down to see how long I could do it without getting sick. I remember hanging on for dear life. I remember the dreaded feeling of needing to get off and nobody would slow it down or stop it! You either had to stick it out or jump! That was always a shock to the body. You are spinning at a high rate of speed and all of the sudden........SPLAT! You land on the ground licking your wounds....all the while not being able to stand or focus because the world was still spinning. And the laughter! Ah....the giggles and belly laughs from that adrenaline rush were priceless.
That merry-go-round reminds me of Christmas. We jump on the merry-go-round and it spins faster and faster.....the purpose and meaning become a blur. We try to focus on the true meaning of this significant celebration.......all the while hanging on for dear life. The faster we spin, the blurrier our focal point becomes. Pretty soon, we accept our fate and hang on and try to enjoy the ride. Sometimes we often try to the make the best of it by "refocusing" the true meaning and blending it into our wild ride. We fit as many Christ-centered events into 25 days as we possibly can in the name of celebrating. We say over and over again that the true meaning of Christmas is more important than anything else we are doing.
Here is a phrase that has been resonating in my heart lately:
"Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright."
I know......"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.' " Luke 2:13-14 I know that kings---and all their entourage---came to worship the Christ child. I know there was a stir. But for some reason, our hustle and bustle doesn't always fall into the same category as the stir that happened in the wake of Jesus' birth.
Sometimes it isn't until Christmas Day or after that we jump off the merry-go-round. And when we do finally jump.....the impact from the fall is often quite harsh. Too tired to have any fun. Too tired to worship. Too tired to think about letting "every heart prepare HIM room".
If we are to prepare HIM room, we are going to have to clean out the junk, the wrappings and the noise. If our merry-go-round is spinning so fast, how do we slow it down to let Him on? Does He want to get on? I don't think so. I think He wants to "walk with me and talk with me" in the garden. It's there in the garden that I can focus, see and hear Him. He isn't a blur.
All is calm.
All is bright.