The talk is all Santa in Camille’s class these days. Of course in these days leading up to Christmas, every seven-year old is making her list. Their teacher dazzles them with the story of how last year, she’d left carrots on her roof the night of Christmas Eve. The next morning, they were gone.
“But what if I don’t get Molly for Christmas?” Camille asks me worriedly. What will her friends think of Santa if he doesn’t bring her Molly, the American Girl Doll she’s hoping for? She knows of course that Santa’s not real. She’s always known that. She also knows her parents aren’t nearly as generous as the legendary pot-bellied man in the red suit. She doesn’t want Santa’s good name discredited.
* * * * *
Advent: God gives us the gift of Himself.
I’m reminded that this is the gift I find most difficult to give.
Like a spool of thread, I am perpetually unwound, the threads of my energy unraveled for this family. They tug hard, and the spool turns and wobbles. The giving is never effortless or elegant. There are days I resist, tug back, and declare, “Enough!” I reason that it is humanly impossible to give more.
And it is. Humanly impossible.
Giving ourselves away, piece by piece and thread by thread, can be inspired by none other than Creator-God who fully gave Himself away into the arms of Mary, who unraveled the threads of heaven to give us Jesus, fabric of flesh.
We know that Santa’s come when the carrots disappear.
And we know Jesus has come when the spool unwinds.
I might want to resist this unraveling, but it is a force too powerful.
Because I follow Jesus, those footsteps lead me further along into the emptying, the unraveling, and the giving away. And I always feel like the boy with a meager lunch. How is it ever enough to feed this hungry crowd?
The spool turns and wobbles. I pray and stir. I fold. I listen, I hold. I write.
And Jesus comes.
Advent: make room for the gift.