Tag Archives: Christmas

I Have No Gifts to Bring

wise men What do you think they said when they saw the star pointing the way to Jesus?

What do we say?

We say, “Who me? I am not ready! I have nothing to wear/bring/show!”

Jesus came as a newborn baby…the most vulnerable among us…small, humble.

He is saying to us, “Come as you are, don’t fuss, I just want your presence, just come and see me without expectation or presentation.”

This is our introduction to our Savior.  We want to be more for him, we want to bring gifts for Him and because we don’t feel prepared or worthy, we don’t show up.  But He keeps inviting us.  Again and again throughout his life and death and resurrection, he invites us.

The manger is the beginning, the first time we see Him, the first time we know that this is a different kind of king, that we can show up empty handed because He’s after our hearts.  We can show up with our hearts on display…messy, confused, sorry, hurting, joyful…all of us, He will take all of us. That’s our gift to Him…all of us.  Our hearts.

We can stand before the manger broken and naked and needy.  He has come for us.

And later, we can stand at the foot of the cross, broken and naked and needy as He dies for us.

He loves us that much.

No amount of not ready is going to keep Him from pursuing us.  No amount of messiness or sinfulness or I’m all filled up on material junk and totally distracted -ness is going to keep Him from loving us.

He’s coming here.  To live among us.  He will choose to sit with the sinners.  He will choose to know the people that the world condemns.  He will dine with the drinkers and He will forgive the adulterers and He will surprise us. He will challenge what we think we know and He will show us that we only can be BIG when we dare to get SMALL.  He will show us that we can only be STRONG when we are brave enough to ADMIT WEAKNESS.  He will ask us to get low…He will get low.  He will TURN THIS WHOLE THING UPSIDE DOWN.

He came to hang out here with us.  On our turf.  A King coming down from heaven to live among us here in this messed up place.  He came straight from His father’s heart…pure and peaceful and perfect.

So maybe this year we go.  Maybe this year we bring our weary souls to the manger. Maybe we show up with our open, broken, messy hearts…ready to trust, ready to believe.  He shows up too.  He loves us enough to accept us as we are but the good news is that He loves us too much to leave us that way.

I love this song by Dave Matthews.  In it he sings about Jesus, “So I’m told, so the story goes, The people he knew were less than golden hearted.  Gamblers and robbers, drinkers and jokers, all soul searchers like you and me.”  Love that.  Just like you and me.

This Christmas story isn’t for other people.  It’s for you.  It’s for me.  It’s for all of us.

Merry Christmas!

 

How You Doin’?

Guilty

(I’ll give you a minute to digest that and think of Joey and laugh.  You did read it in his voice, right?)

So I was playing around with Facebook and trying to figure it out.  I have been on it awhile and I have a Great Big Yes page but I still don’t know how to work everything.  I’m sure there are lots of cool features that I don’t know about.  It’s kind of like my camera and my washer and my ipad and ATT U-verse and all the other things I use but I’m sure I’m not using to their full potential.  Who has time to read all the paperwork???

Anyway, I’m on Facebook and I never really noticed that in the space where you can post an update, there are words.  There is a question and it changes.  When I realized this, I started clicking on and off, on and off, just to see the question change.  (And I wonder why I don’t have time to read directions).   It’s funny on the Great Big Yes page because it says, “How are you doing, Great big YES?” or “What’s going on, Great Big YES?”

It made me think of a cheer they do at my daughter’s school… They say, “Bulldogs, How do you feel?” and you are supposed to say, “I FEEEEEEL Good, Oh, I feel so good!”

This got me thinking.  What if I don’t feel good?  What if I posted how I really felt some days?  What if I saw, “How are you doing, Great Big YES?” and I typed in, “Great Big YES is a Great Big NO today.  I woke up late, didn’t have food for kid’s lunches, house is a mess, just ate cookies for breakfast and I think I’m going back to bed to watch Channing Tatum movies all day.  Might be depression, might be anxiety, might just be tired and fed up. Check in tomorrow and I’ll let you know if it’s better.”

Does anyone really want to know this?

It’s like the Christmas card.  We put on the highlights, right?  I mean, who wants to hear about the tests you failed, the schools you didn’t get into, the bonus you didn’t get, the flood in your basement and the pervasive feeling that you are a failure?

I mean, really.  Get it together before you show it to the world.

In other words, on Facebook and in Christmas cards…lie.

Today in our faith sharing group, we talked about fear.  FEAR.  It’s big and it’s real and it affects all of us in one way or another.  We talked about how God mentions fear a lot in the Bible and it’s always this, “DO NOT BE AFRAID”.  But we don’t always live that do we?

So the beautiful, freeing thing about talking about something is that when you talk about it, you release it.  It’s out there.

It’s so great when we tell a friend our worries or our fears and we realize we are not alone.  We can share and hear, “I’ve felt that too”.  We can listen and say, “I’ve felt that too”.  We can laugh together and cry together and grow together.

But we can’t do that if we lie.

We can’t do that if we try to keep up the facebook version of life.

I read this and thought, “Oh yeah, that’s so true…”   perfectionism

And so, in honor of that sentiment, here is our “not perfect” Christmas card.

christmas card 2012

Happy New Year!

My name is Sue and I’m not perfect.  How you doin’?

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

What’s right with this picture?

Do you remember that game, “What is wrong with this picture?” I used to love to play that.  You would decide what doesn’t belong in the picture and circle it.  I still like to play the version of this in the back of People magazine where you point out what is different in each picture.  For today, we are playing, “What is right with this picture?”

This morning I was thinking about what I wanted to post for the “Tuesdays Unwrapped” link up that I’m doing with http://www.chattingatthesky.com/.  We are supposed to look around at our everyday, messy lives and find blessings…we are to celebrate the small things.

My daughter took this picture in our living room and I thought it was perfect.  The things it represents are not small in any way but they are things that many of us (including me) take for granted.  Of course, the tree represents Christmas.  God loved the world so much, He sent His son to redeem us.  Wow.  No small thing. Actually, He was a small thing.  A tiny little baby.  A beautiful, perfect savior born on that Holy Night.

I love the American flag in the back of the picture too.  No small thing.  We fly our flag every day, year round.  I sometimes have guilt about flying it at night without a light or how it sometimes waves in the rain.  I’m not sure of the rules exactly, I just know I love my country and I know I want to honor it.

Same goes for God sometimes.  I don’t know all the rules exactly.  I just know I love God and I want to honor Him.

So this picture is what I’m celebrating today.  Both the flag and the tree represent my individual freedom and they represent Freedom in a bigger, more universal sense too.  One is the freedom of now, here, in this country, in my circumstance and one is the other kind of freedom, the everlasting freedom from sin and death.  So maybe we can call them the small freedom and the BIG FREEDOM.  But again, we are reminded, neither of these are small things.  People are dying for these freedoms every day.

My son was playing with this Nativity set the other day.

 

My friend gave me this one because I love the Peanuts (especially Snoopy and Woodstock).  One of my other friends she doesn’t know if she agrees with Woodstock standing in for Jesus but I love it.  It’s the Peanuts Christmas Play.  Another reminder that yes, I’m a Christian but I’m an American too so that means the “Peanuts Christmas” is part of my tradition.  I’m embracing all of it.

As my son was playing with the set he was singing…”My country ’tis of thee…” Seriously.  No joke.  “Sweet Land of Liberty”… “of thee I sing”.

No… it’s not “Silent Night”… but it is a song about Freedom.  Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

tuesdays unwrapped at cats