Sunday, December 18, 2011

Preparing for Christmas - 12.18.2011

Have you ever listened to an extremely bitter person?  You know the one. The one who is never happy, never satisfied, always complaining, always assuming everyone is against them.

They are simply miserable human beings. It's so sad.

Fortunately for me, I've only really ever "known" one and that's because I worked with her. She complained about E V E R Y T H I N G.  No matter what I did or how much "light" I tried to bring to her day...all I ever got was grumbling.  I can't imagine how much I annoyed her.  But then again, I wasn't the only one.

Today, every time I see a person who has that same air about them or that "look", I smile politely and move on.  I've been on the receiving end of verbal abuse from individuals who don't like my demeanor so I tend to steer clear. There is one woman I know who works at a store I frequent whose name translates literally into "pains".  One afternoon she let me know how little she appreciated my greeting and has no desire to have my "fantastic attitude". Mind you, she said it in the snarkiest voice as she rolled her eyes at me and scanned the items I was purchasing.

Yeah, it was bad.

Have you ever noticed how small children don't have bitterness? I'm not talking about the bad days when they miss a nap and have tantrums.  Lord knows I've had plenty!

I'm talking about the pure innocence and joy of a child. For example -- when they see a loved one. They almost seem to love everyone without abandon. They run up, wrap their Cheerio laden hands around adult legs, wipe sticky faces on pants or skirts, and say "I wub woo!" You see all faces just light up.

Little ones don't decide they have to clean up first before they express themselves. It's immediate. A reaction of what they feel inside when they lay their eyes on their hearts' desire. Shrieks and shrills of delight. For me, as a mom, and a woman who loves young children, it causes me to smile from ear to ear. So much so that often times it makes my face hurt.

But as adults, what has caused us to lose our childlike wonder and joy?  Yes, I know the list can be long. Mine has been longer than I care to share in certain seasons of my life. But to walk around with a dark cloud over head and make everyone I come in contact with miserable?

From David Jeremiah's book, "Why the Nativity?"

Day 18: Why Was King Herod So Angry?

After Dr. Jeremiah takes you through a historical timeline of events during the last six decades before Jesus' birth, you almost begin to see why a half Jewish King in ancient Palestine would lead a paranoid and lonely life.

He then writes:
"The miserable king was thinking about death at the very time when someone was coming to conquer it. He was making funeral arrangements, attempting suicide (unsuccessfully), and lying awake through the night, wondering who would come in the night to steal his crown."
 King Herod was so miserable that he refused to see any good around him. He already had so much blood on his hands, he didn't care if there would be more to spill...including that of a baby boy.  After all, he had easily taken the lives of his own sons.

Earlier, I posed today's question to our children.  Surprisingly, they got it. Without any prompting at all, they understood that King Herod had no desire of being replaced and wanted to make sure the baby boy the Wise Men had come to worship was eliminated.  Immediately after, they both exclaimed "Good thing they listened to the angel and didn't tell King Herod.  Now, we have Jesus!"

Now we have Jesus.

There are some embittered adults who could care less about the birth of Jesus. There are also some adults who are perfectly content in their lives without Jesus.  Not to mention there are some adults who "have" Jesus and live perfectly bitter lives.

So what's the point? What does it matter that we understand why King Herod was so angry?

It might be important to understand that Jesus came into this world for all of us. Do we react in bitterness and misery? Do we react in fear and anger? Do we react in pride and self assurance? Do we react by ignoring and avoiding?

Or do we react with childlike wonder bringing light to those we love by being amazed, and digging deeper, and not caring about dirty hands or sticky faces all the while asking questions until we can't ask anymore.

Can we?

With childlike wonder and excitement, we have Jesus and there is much to celebrate.

Write your "Dear Santa" letter and put this book at the top of your list.
Why the Nativity?

Before I leave you, can I ask you to pray for "Pains"?  I don't know what troubles her heart but it certainly makes me sad for her. Thank you.

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