I’m ready for you this year.
Usually I am a purist, unwilling to listen to even one Christmas song until Black Friday and lamenting our culture’s rush through Thanksgiving. But as I write this, I’m listening to Zoe Group’s new album (nice job, by the way), and hugely looking forward to November 29 instead of bracing myself for its explosion of commercials and tinsel.
Last week, one of my mentors—in the middle of a discussion about my ongoing transition to PA, trying to serve our small church in ways that make sense, continuing to adjust to marriage, stepmomming Matt’s two teenagers, dealing with ever-escalating levels of Jerry Springer from their mother, filing for increased custody of the kids, juggling freelance work for seven or eight clients, researching the development of a new company, preparing to start grad school, attempting to be a good friend/daughter/sister-in-law, dealing with all the other demands of life, reading the occasional book so I have some connection to my brain, and running a few times a week so I can cling to size 6 with a death grip—said, “You do give yourself permission to know this is impossible, right?”
“What do you mean?” I said. “It’s not impossible. I’m doing it.”
“And pretty damn well, most of the time,” he answered. “But I repeat the question: Do you give yourself permission to know it’s impossible?”
He’s right, of course. Some mornings it feels impossible. Some mornings I wake up and think, I cannot do what I need to do today. I cannot be who I have to be today.
And then I get up and do it, and be it, and now I am a little colder and sadder and older and I need a little Christmas now.
So I am ready for you this year. I need candles. Heck, I need twinkly lights. I need to hear “O Holy Night” until I want to punch someone. I need sentimental specials on TV and a slow dance with Matt in front of the Christmas tree and a road trip back to Cincinnati and a few hours of good will toward men.
I need to believe a 7th grade girl who cares only about texting and TV will eventually prioritize something significant. I need to believe people can spiritually grow, even in little Levittown, and that eventually leaders will emerge. I need to believe all this work matters, that the daily decision to do the right things for the right reasons will eventually pay off beyond simply allowing me to sleep (like the dead) at night.
This year I need to remember the impossible is possible.
Lord Coggan, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, said, “When God intends to make something wonderful he begins with a difficulty. When he intends to make something very wonderful, he begins with an impossibility.”
When God planned the incarnation, he began with a scared pregnant virgin and went on from there, adding a skeptical fiance and a wildly inconvenient census and death threats from a king and relocation to the Nazareth ghetto. There was hard work and quick adjustments to marriage and step-parenting and moves to new cities. There were impossibilities on top of difficulties, and it was ultimately very wonderful.
This year I need your comfort and joy. Good gracious, do I need the eggnog. But even more, I need the reminder that my impossible situation may make it possible for God to do something wonderful—if not in the circumstances, if not in rescuing these kids, if not in the daily drama, then in me.
So welcome Christmas, bring your cheer, and your music, and even your excess. I’m ready to celebrate.