I hope this story isn’t too personal or gross to qualify as a heartwarming Christmas tale, but this was all I had within me during the very poopy Christmas of 2008.
We had a beautiful Blue Spruce standing in our living room. The Christmas decorations had been brought up from the basement. The soothing voice of Bing Crosby was coming through the stereo. Ah, this is just like the Christmases from my sweet childhood memories. Well…not quite the same. There were six children instead of two scrambling to grab Christmas decorations. The older children seemed to clump all the decorations onto one section of the tree, while the younger children were intent on pulling them off as soon as they were put on.
I was not feeling as excited this year about decorating as in my youth. Yes, the exhaustion and nausea of my first trimester was definitely putting a damper on my Christmas spirit. I realized that the tree was being trimmed rather haphazardly, and it was leaning slightly to the left. Yet I had no energy to fix it.
“Oh well,” I thought, “It will just have to lean this year.” Truly my deepest heart’s desire was to crawl into bed and sleep until New Years. There was also a strange smell drifting through the house that was never present in my childhood memories.
Clang! Bang! Loud noises were emanating from the downstairs bathroom. Chris was entirely missing the tree trimming this year because of a project in the bathroom. Earlier in the week our toilet began backing up. After it got clogged for the 7th time, our oldest boy Cole spoke up.
“Oh yeah, I remember that I saw Cooper drop a toy in the toilet and then he flushed!” he offered. I suspected that the toilet clogger was really Cole himself…yet Cooper does have an unusual fascination with the potty. Chris was in the bathroom having to rip the entire toilet off of the floor.
“I found the toy but I can’t get it out!” yelled Chris in frustration.
“Try putting oil on it!” I suggested.
“There’s enough poop on it!” He yelled back.
“I don’t think poop is very lubricating.” I said.
“I AM THE EXPERT ON POOP AROUND HERE!” he bellowed.
Considering the smell and the amount of time Chris had been working, I believed him!
Our tree eventually got trimmed.
The bathroom got put back together. Yet I prayed “God, there has to be more to the Brandenburg Christmas this year, more than nausea and broken toilets.”
Then I thought of Mary having to birth her first baby alone, in a stable. It probably didn’t smell too good either. Yet she had angels come sing praises to her baby. And of course there were the shepherds and wise men who came to confirm what she knew in her heart; that her baby was a King. Those visitations must have helped her through some difficult days ahead.
In these difficult days it is hard to see the purpose in our crazy, exhausting lives. I had no angels singing when my children were born. Yet I had something even better – The Word of the Lord! I heard God saying at the birth of each of my children, “This is a chosen one. I knew this one before I made the world and he has a destiny. She will conquer mountains and do great exploits for me!”
When I see the mess that my house is right now and the mess that my children make, I keep my eyes on eternity. I can see each child standing before the throne of God. I see Jesus embracing each one and calling him or her his friend. I see their reward for the spoils they took from the enemy. I know that their reward is my legacy. And here is the key to my hope. I know that all this is true; not because I am a good mother but because GOD SAID it was true.
So I thank God for this holiday season with all of its promise. Promise that is symbolized by a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a stinky manger!