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Presence at Christmas

Usually, December rushes by so quickly I don't have a minute to even gather thoughts. The evenings are too full of festive activities and gatherings to warrant any reflection. Usually around the middle of December, after having done a big gift-shopping trip, the tree looks festive and full, the Christmas cards are on their way to friends, and the Christmas Eve menu is forming in my mind.

This year, it's just different. I'm sure Christmas morning I'll have procrastinated enough to make it magical. Procrastination is as great a motivator now as in high school English class. I can be very productive with the right motivation.

This year, December just feels like all the other months have. Overshadowed by worry and fear, uncertainty and disappointment. It's not a bad thing.

When my son was about 18 months, we went to ice cream. His siblings deciding between chocolate, vanilla, or "twist" incited intense debate about which flavor is better. In my "Mommy's in charge" way, I choose vanilla for Calvin, but I let him have some practice feeding himself with a spoon. Dairy Queen ice cream is perfect for helping a little one learn this essential skill; the treat sticks to the red plastic spoon like glue. Messes are mitigated. He holds the spoon in his "gimme ice cream now!" way, but I direct the spoon from the end so it doesn't end up in his eye instead of his mouth. He thinks he's in control, he's proud of his accomplishment and delicious reward. But really, I'm the one overseeing it.

He's not seeing me, just the treat. When I take the ice cream cone and try to spoon-feed him, he gets mad. He doesn't care that I'm there with him, but I can wait until later to get some snuggles from him.

In many ways we are much like that toddler with a spoon and ice cream.

May we, even in this weird season, see the Father directing the spoon so we don't stick it in our eye, and rejoice in His presence.

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