When I was putting up our Christmas decorations tonight, I smiled a little when I realized what a messy house I was decorating. Literally. We hadn’t cleaned in forever.
But also figuratively.
I smiled at how stringing up our lights felt like inviting Jesus in – pausing in the chaos and crud of sickness and anxiety and uninvited trouble and just lighting the tree and praying, “Come on in. We’re waiting for You here.”
Michael and I took a trip to New York this past week. It was our intended “romantic getaway” for just the two of us.
One day into our trip, Michael fainted from nausea due to severe food poisoning. He hit his head and was knocked unconscious. I dialed 911 for an ambulance, and the Fields ended up in the NYC hospital in the middle of the night.
Can I be real, here? Awesome. I’ll be real.
I spent the better part of last week – the week we’d planned on enjoying the twinkling lights and selfie-ing with the Rockefeller tree and eating too much cheesecake and making a tally of how many Christmas lights we saw – crying on and off about the messiness and fear of finding my husband in that awful moment.
After we checked out of the hospital, I mostly remember double-checking that Michael was OK every five minutes for the remainder of the trip. I couldn’t sleep unless I could hear him breathing steadily. The shock of finding him in such a weak state, the what-ifs that circled my brain and clutched my heart, the emotions of completely changed expectations about something we’d looked forward to for so long, the shock that OMIGOODNESS I LITERALLY DIALED 911 LIKE THEY TAUGHT ME IN SECOND GRADE, the massive amounts of Gatorade we consumed in the span of 3 days, and then the relief that I still have my husband and HE REALLY IS GOING TO BE OKAY made my emotions look like the following:
FDJSAL548W58OHYGURHEW584%&TFJDSKHGFJDGFDSG??!!!!!! **chocolate break** GHFDL48WIAHURLV8T4YE!!??!!
And so, somehow at first, stringing up the Christmas lights back at home…with Michael sleeping on the couch because taking the tree down from the attic wore him out…seemed…I don’t know. Weird?
Like, instead of spreading little spurts of light joy around my house…anxiety was insisting that I worry about Michael instead. Worry about anything, really.
Instead of…spreading joy.
How opposite of our life-breathing Jesus can one thought be?!!!
It’s freedom, really, this: I can’t add even a minute to mine or Michael’s span of life by worrying (Matt 6:27). I feel like Jesus told us that as a command, but also as a freeing gift: holding it all together just flat-out isn’t up to us. We are not in control. Blessed assurance, we’re held by something greater than our own worry.
And so, in an act of defiant praise to the Author of Christmas, I continued to string up our Christmas lights. And the cats continued to rip them down. And it turned into the sweetest of times.
Jesus keeps proving Himself to be the author of real, unyielding, hopeful sweetness.
And guess what?
The hubs is MUCH better by the time I’ve posted this! A little tired, but eating and working like a champ.
And guess what else?
Our lights are twinkling brighter than ever and I’m so glad I didn’t wait until we had it “all together” to rejoice.
Merry Christmas, and blessings and joy to you wherever you find yourself this season,
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thes 5:16-18.