Often the easiest way to identify an idol in your life is to remove it and see how your heart reacts. I'm not so great at removing these idols systematically - there are deep roots in there, but God, in his mercy, gently tugs at these roots in my life to reveal my heart. In these moments it is both painful, shameful, yet ultimately cleansing and humbling that the good work of sanctification is happening in my heart. Christmas 2016 was one such occasion.
I love planning. I love organising. I love thinking things through and I love things that are thought through. I love pre-planning, menu-planning, travel-planning...have I revealed my heart yet?! Christmas was of course an opportunity to put these things into use, as well as use the gifts of hospitality God has given our family to be able to bless some dear friends at church. It took some planning too! The two families we wanted to bless are dairy-free, gluten-free families, so there were adjustments to be made and tests to be run. It really is a joy for me to work these things out. The turkey was ordered, the centre-piece arranged, the name cards lovingly inscribed. And then, we got sick. The day before.
And my heart turned black.
I shoved the turkey in the freezer. Angry.
I made room for the sweet potato casserole in there too wanting to blame someone.
The cookies went into the basement where it is cooler. Stomp, stomp, stomp down the stairs so the cellar.
And as I gathered the dry-goods into bags, I was not loving to my family.
I wish I could say I was quick to recognize the sin, the idol and the ripples it had. But it took a little while for me to realize just what an idol I had made of Christmas. I had made the celebration the more important thing instead of the ONE whom we celebrate.
Confession time; to God, to husband, to family.
Sitting without a voice, staring at the fire with my ginger tea in hand while Adam slept the day away, I realized what an awful thing I had done, yet what a gracious thing that God had done. There was no stress, no turkey to keep track of, no people to entertain. It was a quiet Christmas. Anika was lovingly spared the sickness to be able to play with new presents and we could quietly reflect on why we celebrate Christmas without ‘Christmas’. Though it was our sickest Christmas, it was the gift of a new set of eyes that I am thankful for.
There is something fresh and wonderful about Januaries. I love them. It probably fits with the whole ‘planning’ thing I have. I love sitting down with a new calendar mapping out the year’s events, holidays, birthdays, things to look forward to. January means new, means tabula rasa, means clean slate. I am reminded again each January of the newness that Christ has given me through the sacrifice of the cross and my life hidden in His. I am made new through Him, and am being made new through Him.
This January, the newness also brought about redo Christmas. We were finally able to celebrate Christmas with three healthy families in the first week of January. And it was glorious! There was sun streaming through the windows, snow on the ground, the turkey was resurrected (only to be baked!), the sweet potato casserole retained it’s flavor and we were without stress since half of the dinner had already been made! The families that came were genuinely encouraging and kind to us as we spoke of the past year and lessons learned, as well as the New Year and what it held for each of us. A wedding, a new business venture, the possibility of a new job, finishing school and continuing school - many things to pray and see as God works things through. How grateful I am for redo Christmas. Redo heart. Redo Kim. Remade. Remaking. Redone.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:4-10