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Christmas: Toddler Tantrums, White Rabbits and Snowball Fights

December 5, 2015
Advent has just started and Christmas is some way off but I’m feeling stressed and bothered. Everything seems to have to be done now… or yesterday. I feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland (Disney version) singing:
I’m Late!
I’m Late!
For a very important date!
No time to say, “Hello”, goodbye!
I’m Late!
I’m Late!
I’m Late!
As I write I look at the time and realise I’m late for this… then there’s that… then there’s all those things to write for schools and services and magazines and… I can almost see that White Rabbit with his pocket watch staring back at me from the mirror.
If I’m not careful I’ll just give up and go and hide in a cupboard until its all over (or at least until my bladder forces me out! – but I’m sure you get what I mean).
Stress is a terrible thing it ruins lives. Stress turns nice reasonable people into monsters who HAVE to elbow their way to the Christmas Pudding, then turn and grab the last tub of brandy butter with a maniacal gleam in their eyes. Drivers too are less courteous. “Courteous” is such an old fashioned word but I still love it. Courtesy is one of those gifts of love from the Spirit. A gift that makes people feel at ease. A gift that calms and soothes battered minds. Courtesy is one of those common virtues that make civilisation possible and sadly it seems to be in short supply at present.
That has made me think back over the last few days. Have I been as courteous on the roads as I should be or have I just added to the overall stress? I run through things in my mind and what I find is mixed: Some good – some not so good. O Lord help me. O Lord save me from Christmas! Now that was something I never thought I would hear myself say, but what I see of Christmas all around me is not what I want.
Thankfully, the Lord is used to me having tantrums like this. They happen every time I try to think that “I” can do all the things that my ministry here demands. Thankfully too His patience is as infinite as his love. What else would I expect when it comes to a basic character trait of God and a ‘fruit of the Spirit’?
God sees his toddler in a mess and gives me ‘time out’. Time to look again. Time to stop and think. So, I’ve been a good boy and I’ve gone away. I’ve had bacon butties at one of my churches and met wonderful people, then spent the afternoon with crowds of children and their parents doing Messy Church to get ready for Christmas. I’ve come back to my article far less stressed and far happier.
Do you know? – I think God might just know what he’s doing!
I have let the Spirit in and found that I’m not late. Most things can wait a little longer. There is always time to smile, to talk, to hug, to have a snowball fight with a child (Messy Church again). Peace has come to me through ordinary human beings, through laughter in Christ’s presence, in His house. Through stories and songs God came to me today as a human being; through many human beings. Perhaps that’s what I needed to learn after all. Maybe, the real Christmas is on its way after all!
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