Unconditionally in Love and Relentless – The Christmas Story

Christmas Story

Love makes people do strange things. What would you do for love and where would you draw the line?

Introducing his recent Christmas film – The Christmas Candle, best-selling author Max Lucado tells this story – His daughter was tinkering on a grand piano one breezy afternoon at home, serenading her pet hamster perched on the piano’s case. Apparently bored and oblivious to the affection directed at it, the tiny hamster lost his footing and fell right into the strings and got stuck between the treble and bass bridge.

If Max’s daughter was inspired by the Hamster on a Piano craze, she clearly didn’t consider the risks – her beloved pet could be crushed between the pedal rods or sliced by the strings to the sound of a G chord. The alarmed little girl lifted her feet off the pedals, stopped playing immediately and started calling out for help and to her squirming pet, (Let’s just call it – Hammy) “Come on Hammy…wiggle out, go right!”

A Christmas StoryBut Hammy was petrified! Some strings do not let you escape easily, and so with each wiggle,  he slid further down into the dark pit belly of the piano. “Dad Hero” – Max came charging in to the rescue, but little Mr. Hammy wasn’t getting the message.
They both tried coaxing, then banging on the sides and shouting to get Hammy to let go of his desperate grip on the strings.

Finally, Max got some tools out to dismantle the grand piano. He got the off the top board and realized he needed specialized tools to get the other screws out. Frustrated at the look of the despair on his daughter’s face, he thought – If only I could become a hamster, I could get in there and help Hammy out.

Would you give up your ability to speak, create and be fully human to save a lesser animal you loved? If your pet got stuck somewhere and you had special powers, would you consider becoming, say a dog or cat, knowing that the terrified pet would most likely trust and follow its kind to safety?

Hammy will always trust a fellow hamster over a high-sounding, booming, authoritarian voice – even if it is the voice of its owner. This mirrors the essence of the Christmas story – when God became one of us.

The story of how a loving God saw His children petrified by the daily grind of life, beaten to pulp by hopelessness and fearful of definite death. He knew that if He would come down from His immeasurable glory and majesty and become a man, He could completely feel and be touched with our struggles, fears and pain, more importantly, he could show us the way, help us see that He’s got our back. How else do you understand someone else’s struggles, except by empathy and by walking in their shoes?

Sadly, the fantasy of Santa Claus is barely adequate. He is “here” once a year. The real gift, however has arms outstretched all through the year and for a lifetime. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother and is totally committed to us with fierce, unconditional love.

For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but (He) was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Heb. 4:15

A Christmas StoryOverlooked and lowly shepherds received a very strange birth announcement. An even stranger star in the sky led kings to a baby not born by a renown midwife, but by a medically inept carpenter and his virgin bride in a smelly manger – instead of Zen music, perceptive goats, rams, sheep and  horses were stunned that the divine birth just happened in their filthy shack.

This Christmas season, we try to replicate love in our minuscule ways by giving gifts, helping the less fortunate and spreading Christmas cheer. But every one of us has a line in the sand that we would not cross in the name of love. Thankfully, God is love. The very best of heaven –  Jesus…our Emmanuel came with lavish, extravagant love.

Back to Hammy, Max called for professional assemblers to dismantle the grand piano and while they were waiting for their arrival, Hammy got weary or hungry or both and  finally let go of the stings and crawled back up to the music rack. His little nose twitching and dusty. Yay!

I read this  joke about how different people typically respond to others (in this case – Hammy) in the pit:

A Christmas StoryThe Pharisee says, “You deserve to be in the pit.” The Catholic says, “You need to suffer while you’re in the pit.” The Baptist says, “If you’d get saved, you wouldn’t have fallen into the pit.” The Charismatic says, “Just confess  -“I’m not in the pit.” The mathematician says, “Let me calculate how you fell into the pit.” The IRS agent says, “Have you paid taxes on that pit?” The optimist says, “Things could be worse.” The pessimist says, “Things will get worse.”

The Lord  Jesus doesn’t waste time theorizing how we get into these pits. He just reaches out and gets us out when we ask, and sometimes even when we don’t.

Thankfully, Hammy had an owner –  a pet lover who considered becoming a hamster just to help him out. That’s what I am thankful for this Christmas…my God is not far off, unyielding, judging and demanding. He came near and stays close, never mad at me –  regardless of what I do or didn’t do. His love is stable and relentless.

With no fancy words or phrases, I pray you’ll invite the Lord in and unwrap the real gift of His unrelenting, unconditional love.

Merry Christmas!

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Shout Outs and Giving Thanks on Happy Yum Day

Shout outs and Thanksgiving

My first Thanks to God who keeps us by His Love!

A little late, but better than never so here’s a big Shout-out and Thanks to our WordPress family. I would love to list you all by name, but after slaving away at my kitchen, prepping, grilling, mashing and opening packages – *wink*, I can’t…just can’t.

Yesterday and last night stretched out for hours, I was bone tired, my head was setting up for a tango session and I could not finish my glass of Gaucho Spur Malbec Reserve, but today…

I look forward to a day of rest, NO black Friday shenanigans. I’m stuffing myself with left-overs, enjoying the deep red rich wine from the mountains of Mendoza with flavors of black cherry, blueberry and notes of raspberry, crafted masterfully by South American , Gaucho – a keeper of the grassland, protector of the fruits of the land, a man with heavy manners and a tall reputation.  Esta bien bonito!! 

More than ever, I am so thankful that I washed my turkey with lemon wedges, plucked out and rubbed off the remnant feathers and loose pre-dermis tucked between the wings and thighs myself. I am anal about the pristine state of the bird, before it’s stuffed and smothered with my signature rub of melted butter, celery seeds, curry, rosemary, thyme, salt and MSG! I am sometimes tempted to buy a pre-cooked thanksgiving package, but my conscience will not let me serve my family a bird I didn’t personally decontaminate.

Thanksgiving is an uncommon holiday, by nature I am thankful and optimistic, so a whole day to have an entire country in sync with the spirit of gratitude is incredible! I believe that’s why America is so blessed. Think of a world, all countries of the world, setting aside one day in a year to be grateful for loved ones, break bread and give thanks…

Shout-outs and ThanksgivingBack to the Shout Outs! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Here’s to all you dreamers, subscribers, followers, blog-guests, rebels, closet writers, the go-getters, the ones who inspire, the steadfast, the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world in their own unique ways…God Bless You ALL!

A special Shout Out to the NaBloPoMoers of 2013… At least we tried!

I hope you all had a great time with loved ones and I am officially declaring the day after thanksgiving…Happy Yum Day!

Thank You, Mom!

thumbnail.aspxI know, today is not Mother’s Day and I am not trying to toot my horn here, but as I was getting my son ready for school last week, and this incredible wave of love stirred me…and got me thinking about someone who loves me forever, someone always concerned about me. And I had to pause, blow her a kiss and say “Thank you, Mom

Just like I considered, while helping him get dressed today, she must have also had the same recurring thought, “Is this cute enough?”.  She had her hands full, with four girls and a boy to primp! I want my son to look loved and cared for everyday, whether it’s a field trip or simply another day in Mrs. P’s  3rd grade class, so it’s no coincidence that he is the cutest boy in the class pictures and one of the smartest too.

It’s the little things… like  I know he likes beans, so I make a sauce for him to go with it, instead of  drab canned beans. This seems trivial, but a mother’s mind addresses every minuscule detail and my Mom’s love set the standard and example to follow.

She made my siblings and I feel that we mattered and validated each of us uniquely. Mom made us personal T-shirts, with inscriptions as “Future Hope” , “Sweet One” , “Angel” , “Blessed” and so on, call it corny….all I know she was speaking into our future.

Maybe, somehow she knew her time would be short here on earth, even though I was eight when I got my first t-shirt, that hot weekend afternoon was one of my fondest childhood memories. I write to evoke a smile from her in the heavens, she did not live out the fullness of her destiny, but I can and with each word, I am paving my path and making her proud.

I am often marvel at how incredibly brave the motherless are,  we are specially blessed who have experienced the heartbeat of a mother’s love, the safe anchor in the always open arms, the warmth in her ever watchful gaze, which lights up, as we step into the room. Our consummate master at channeling love, while saying , “No”. Her unconditional acceptance stems from carrying a gift that is never fully unwrapped even after nine months of pregnancy.

The one who sees your cracked lips and reaches into her purse for a lip balm, and even when you are all grown up, still grooms you – straightening your tie, picking out gunk from every accessible crevice. She is your exclusive chef, noting your favorite meals, your first-aid nurse, the front-row seat witness and comfort at all your heart breaks.  And when grace gives you a blessing or an award, we hear the enduring refrain, “Thank you, this is for you, Mom” and if she has passed on, grown men cry , “If only she could see me now….”

In Psalms 20:10, the orphan-spirit plight is forever settled, as David by faith declares  that “When my father and my mother forsakes me, then the LORD will take care of  me” So He has been your EL SHADDAI , God Almighty, All Sufficient. As one of  the Hebrew names of God, this also translates to the many breasted One or of the womb, invoking the mother-image or female of God and His complete sufficiency to nurture and nourish. He expresses love, comfort, tenderness and care to whoever reaches out and that’s why grace smiles on you.

Thank You MomMotherhood is the highest calling of a woman’s life..and not necessarily with your biological child, and it should not matter if your mother didn’t or couldn’t fulfill her own calling,  if you have ever spoken truth in the darkness, ever dreamed greatness and joy for someone else,  denied your pride and self for another’s good, comforted a pain you didn’t cause, rejoiced for gain that wasn’t yours, or simply listened, been a comfort and an inspiration to someone else, then you have answered the sacred call to birth life into seeds that needed nurturing to blossom.

So all over the world, Thank you Mothers. Thank you Mother Teresa , Oprah and my big sister, Itumi.

I read my handmade sign at the head of my son’s bed that says, “Genius!” and know that I am in some way, fulfilling my role as seer, prophet and most importantly, mother.  I am grateful to have learnt from one of the very best. Her name is “Imah” translated “love” in the Annang language. So, Mom – this is for you…. I hope I made you smile today.

Thank You, God.
Thank You, Love.
Thank You, Mom.

With Gratitude,

Ama