Monday, December 11, 2006

no room at the inn

So I was patiently waiting in the cashier's line at Target, when I noticed the lady checking out had three carts full of expensive gifts. I was astonished when I overheard the cashier reveal the dollar amount of her purchases. This lady looked a little frazzled and stressed as she thumbed through her purse in search of that credit card. Once she found her card, she justified her three carts (more like sleighs) full of presents, by mentioning she is going to win the hearts of her children this year. My heart instantly ached at her comment.

Her card was denied. She insisted the cashier try again. Denied again. Her big shopping carts full of already bagged stuff suddenly seemed even bigger and more full by the embarrassment she must have felt. The cashier was trying her hardest to be polite but the card wasn't working. The stressed out lady then decided to let her frustration out on the poor cashier. It was sad to witness such a horrific scene of belittling and disparage. In my mind I said, "Merry freaking Christmas."

No room at the inn.

We all know the story of how Joseph and Mary were told in Bethlehem by the Inn Keeper there was no room for them in the inn. The Savior of the world was born in a stable. We all know this humbling story of the birth of Jesus. We know it so well that we are speeding 20 miles over the speed limit, honking at the cars in front of us, eating dinner in the car which consists of fudge and Christmas cookies our neighbors dropped off last night, and yelling at the kids in the back seat as we try to make it on time to the "Nativity Pageant" our daughter will be the Mother Mary in. Sound a little familiar?

No room at the inn.

Do you ever catch yourself saying as you wrap gifts, "I should probably get this person one more thing?" Isn't it funny how we almost feel empty inside if our gifts we are giving don't measure up to some made up social standard? I have to admit, I love to give gifts -but the energy of chaos I feel in the air when I go shopping and witness angry shoppers, guilt driven parents, and credit cards swiping left and right makes me think of how we have closed our doors to the meaning of Christmas, locked out, and simply say, "I'm sorry, there's no room at the inn."

So I sit here before bed and question, "How do I welcome Christ into the inn this Christmas?"

I need to let go of spending too much, going so fast, being everywhere at once, baking too much junk food, sleeping too little, worrying about pleasing, and just let Christ create the miracle of Christmas. Chay and I need to start spiritual traditions with our children. Maybe a calendar with a scripture of Christ each day of December?

Any ideas?