It’s an odd title for a day-after-Christmas post, but walk with me, if you will.
We had a wonderful Christmas Day. I think the kids were generally surprised as they got a few of the gifts that they listed, but they also received some surprises that they weren’t looking for. Our son was desperately trying to conserve our pennies, and so has searched the Internet diligently for Gamecube games, which are just about extinct. We sprung and got him a Nintendo Wii. He was so very thankful, and what more present did we need? But he saved his allowance and bought us gifts anyway. The girls were equally surprised and thankful. The oldest had asked for clothes; we bought her a sewing machine and a gift card—nothing like teaching a man how to fish, huh? This gift was special to me as I remembered that I was about her age when my mom taught me to sew. I’ve not done anything with a machine since the kids came along, so in some sense, we’re learning together. I sure hope sewing is like learning to ride a bike, and the technology hasn’t passed me by.
For the youngest, she actually wrote her list this year—I hate that I forgot to save it (might be a trash can hunt this afternoon if there’s not too much food there). Anyway, she was so thrilled that she actually got a couple of items from her list. Even more hilarious for us was sharing Santa’s travels with her on Christmas Eve via www.cnn.com. I believe it’s actually the Air Force that does this. The kids were up late on Wednesday night—too excited to sleep. However, when she saw that Santa was nearing Texas, she bolted for the bed, wanting to be sure that she was asleep before Santa landed. She dragged big brother with her, leaving the house quiet except for the superhero, the oldest, and me.
We don’t have many traditions for Christmas, although I’ve tried to make sure that we do certain things that are more in tune with my own interests. I’m not into decorating the outside of our home; it’s my personal boycott against people who rush out to decorate for the season, but won’t get up on Sunday morning for the reason. It’s one of my many quirks that I’ll hopefully get right before the Rapture (smile). Anyway, though we don’t put lights on our home, I do love to see neighborhoods with “extreme” lights, and we have some that make the papers each year here. However, the fog was so dense on last night that I was just glad the family got home safely. I also love going to church for our Christmas Eve service. It’s a wonderful time to praise, to worship, and to get grounded once again in why this season is what it is. Isn’t it preposterous that stores are going out of their way to eliminate Christmas and replace it with the more tolerant and inclusive “Happy Holidays”? Even one of the colleges where I teach emphasizes the use of this phrase vs. Merry Christmas—just another trick of The Man trying to hold us down. I say “Merry Christmas” all day long.
Anyway, a prayerfully temporary bout with illness kept me from this past Sunday’s service as well as Christmas Eve service. We did get in our traditional reading of the Christmas story in the book of Luke. I also watched “The Nativity Story” with Keisha Castle-Hughes and Oscar Isaac (2006)—a marvelous retelling of a classic. It also kept me from Christmas Day dinner with the in-laws. So, I had an opportunity to sit quietly and take in “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.” Prince Caspian wasn’t one of my favorite chronicles. I’m still waiting on a big screen version of The Magician’s Nephew. But I thought that given how wonderfully done The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was, this one would be a sure bet. We saw this for the first time in a hotel a few months ago, and my original thinking was, boy, did Disney screw that up. What most people I know loved about this movie was its Christian symbolism; what Disney seemed to capture was the extended fight scenes and special effects, which only accentuate what was already an excellent tale.
Like I said, such was my perception when I first saw the movie, but yesterday I watched it paying much more attention to the story. Watching the young Castle-Hughes play Mary the night before led me to focus my attention on the character of Lucy, the younger sister/queen of Narnia. I began to think of why some people are chosen to endure certain trials of life. When I looked at Prince Caspian, I thought about Lucy, the one of the four children who still held onto Aslan (representing the Christ), and arguably, she went through harder trials, almost losing her life at least twice. The others were in dangerous spots, but they were far more prepared for their encounters. In almost every case, Lucy was considered weak and helpless; even she acknowledged her helplessness, telling Aslan in one scene, “I wish I were braver.” Mary, the mother of Jesus, was no different. She was poor, having nothing to offer anyone from a material standpoint. She was a woman of great virtue; it is why Joseph chose her (at least according to the movie). These women didn’t go through trials because of their disobedience; they endured trials because of their obedience.
I once heard a sermon entitled "trusted with trouble." Job was selected by God to endure great tribulation (‘And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause’).
I have much more to say, but my time has run short, and this post is getting long. I’ll pick up from here the next time:
Can you be trusted with trouble?