‘Tis the Season!
My photographer friends and I often send that message to each other along with “selfies” of empty coffee cups, crumpled snack wrappers and anything else littering our desks at 3am as we put in yet another 16-18 hour day. I always joke that my goal is to go to sleep in the same day that I wake up. For about a 4 week stretch, that never happens. I’m not complaining. It is just the reality of life for family photographers. What gets me through this season–in addition to the joy on my clients’ faces when they see their cards and portraits–is one special day that is circled on the calendar.
When everything has been submitted to the labs, when all the cards have been delivered and when my desk is cleared, I get to serve. For over twenty years, I spend one entire day in December doing ABC. I look forward to it ALL year. This year, I called my contact to schedule my day of ABC. I was simply giddy as I dialed the phone.
Imagine my surprise when my contact said, “Oh girl, we don’t need you to do ABC this year. What we really need is XYZ.” My stunned silence was taken as a “yes” and she went ahead and sent me all the information.
I started pouting. Then I got a little angry.
“Lord,” I cried out, “THIS is how I usher in the Christmas season to my heart. ABC is my love language. YOU made me this way.” I then added an essay long explanation of why I was disappointed. I may or may not have even raised my voice.
After my thirty minute tirade, a quiet impression came into my mind.
“Is serving about yourself or others?” Ouch. It continued. “Are all my children the same? Do some have different needs?”
My toddler-like tantrum wasn’t quite finished so I had to insert a little reminder. “Yes, I know it’s not about me, but it’s how I turn from a production machine into a joy-maker each year.”
A quiet voice replied, “I say in my word:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
If you didn’t get it the first time, a variation of it is repeated three other times (Ezekiel 11:19, Jeremiah 31:33 and Hebrews 8:10). The voice wasn’t finished yet as He added,
Behold, I am making all things new. Rev 21:5
I had to just sit down and cry a bit as I repented from my attitude.
Christmas is a pretty unique season. It is one that 100% exists to celebrate the silent night that ushered in the greatest joy known to man. However, we take out own traditions, actions and attitudes and weave that with The True Message and somehow the joy can turn into a season of unmet expectations, disappointments and conflict.
Sometimes we go through the season with cupped hands. We trap these traditions in our hands and believe that they define the season. We link the “traditions” or expectations for others with our joy and then we hold tight. NOTHING is going to mess that up. But, we live in reality and sometimes things change…
What would happen if we uncup our hands? If we spread out our open hands it not only puts us physically into a position of praise, but it also creates a larger platform for God to place things in.
We often think of the heart of stone and all things new scriptures in relationship to salvation, but God doesn’t stop our heart transformations when we invite Him in. There is a whole lot of “housekeeping” to be done to transform us to be men and women after His own heart. Could God use your release of the old to usher in something new? What would happen if you opened up your hands and walked through these next few weeks in a physical position of openness and thanksgiving?
Ironically, about 24 hours after the initial phone call, my contact reached out and apologized for asking me to do XYZ. She gave me the opportunity to do the tried and true. With laughter, I thanked her for allowing God to do something new in me. Through it, I was introduced to a whole new ministry. I’ve shared it with countless people and a new wave of the spirit is coursing among the people–all because of XYZ.
God is not stagnant. He desires to do something NEW in you. Will you let Him? Will you open your hands and allow Him to pour forth His Spirit upon you? After all, ‘Tis the Season!