Since a few of my friends and family know what we’ve been up to over the last month, I thought now would be a good time for an update. Again I am hesitant to write too much detail because I don’t want to offend or betray a confidence, so please forgive me if this comes across a little vague at times.
The first indication that this was not to be an ordinary holiday season was my kind hearted wife informing me that she had invited a guest to come along with us for our Christmas visit to my grandmother. Admittedly I wasn’t happy about this, knowing that Grandmamma would prefer Christmas to be a family affair. Nevertheless, not willing to rescind the offer and personally liking the idea of reaching out to others in the true spirit of a birthday celebration for Jesus, I gently broke the news to Grandmamma and was granted permission to bring our guest along.
I must interject here that Grandmamma is one of the most giving people I know and has reached out to others throughout her life. I love and respect her and do not want her to be perceived as anything less than the wonderful person that she is.
A short time later, my beloved learned that another member of our church would have no place to be, and before I knew it we had gained a second passenger for our trip. I wasn’t sure how to deal with this development, but again couldn’t gracefully back out. Linda was acting in the love and compassion that I talk about, but I was just trying to figure out how to resolve an uncomfortable situation.
Enter number three, and this one sleeps on our sofa. I confess I wasn’t in any kind of Christmas spirit. I like to say that the Christmas spirit has horns. Mine certainly did. Through no choice of my own I now had a problem with no good solution. I’ve written about doing the “right thing.” That’s extremely important to me, though as you know if you read my post I question my motives for it. In this case I had no clear choice. I could either pack them all into our minivan and impose three unexpected guests on Grandmamma, or I could break my promise to her to come for Christmas and stay home. Not being prepared to incur the hotel expenses of bringing everyone along, I opted to stay home.
Despite my reluctance, I’m glad we were able to do what we did. I think this is the first time in my life I really gave Jesus a present on the day we celebrate His birthday. It was a wonderful day. I hope we can do similar things in the years to come.
Presumably, our homeless houseguest is still with us, though it remains to be seen whether she will return after leaving us a few days ago. We have come to the conclusion that she needs help from more capable hands than ours, and we have made an effort to find those hands for her. What she does remains her choice, but we have set a date by which she must make a decision. Though I am less certain than my beloved about what needs to happen, due to circumstances I don’t feel free to mention here, we will not be able to help her much longer. Pray for her and for us.
This season has caused me to take a hard look at myself. Granted, it doesn’t’ take much to get me to do that. I’m pretty hard on myself. As usual, I’m not happy with what I see, but I think there’s a degree to which that is a good thing. If Jesus is our standard, we always fall short and should not be content with ourselves. What I need to learn is to trust that He loves me regardless of my shortcomings. I am truly amazed at the mercy He has shown me. I’ve missed His best countless times, yet he is making something good of all my error. That He is willing even now to bring me to a place of joy and fulfillment seems too good to be true. He seems to be doing just that, and I am moved beyond my ability to express. So, I thank Him for this difficult but rewarding season and hope that I have learned a little something from it.