January 6: The day which marks the visit to baby Jesus by the Magi, Three Kings or Wise Men. (Whatever they are going by these days…)
During Medieval times, Christmas was celebrated for the 12 days from Christmas Eve on December 24 until the Epiphany, January 6. In many Protestant churches, the season of Epiphany extends from January 6 until Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent.
Did your calendar note this special day? Mine left it blank.
In fact, I’m really not sure I have ever celebrated, taken a closer look at or even really noticed this more quiet holiday following softly on the heels of Christmas and New Years. (Though I do have a remembrance of being an Air Force kid living in Germany and all the neighborhood children would leave their shoes out to be filled with gifts.)
Love is such a tricky thing. Something we all say we want, struggle to feel we deserve at times, and then feel as though we are drained with none left to give.
My kids say they “love” ice cream, even though it is quickly gone, leaving more to be instantly desired. My husband and I claim to “love” each other while passing the time doing menial tasks such as paying bills, washing dishes or filling the car up with gas. The “love” I have for my children often ends up making them cry when I serve up correcting discipline some days as well as gooey chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven.
Conflicting. Paradoxical. Wondrously glorious and achingly painful at the same time. This is the nature of not only weak human love, but also the love of our sweet Savior.
What do you mean you peed in your pants AGAIN?!” Came the exasperated cry from my scowling lips as I glared towards my 4 year old daughter.
We were (of course) heading out the door on our way to church, loaded up in the Jeep, and as I turned to buckle that sweet girl in, she looked at me with somber eyes while giving me the thumbs down sign.
I wish I could say I was patient. I wish I could say I was understanding. I wish I could say I told her it was all right, I loved her, and then gently took the time to clean her up, change her clothes and then buckle her back up.
But I didn’t.
In anger I yanked her from her car seat, stomped through the house to her room, pulled off her shoes, stripped her wet bottoms off and hurled them with all my might across the room where they met the closet door with a mighty thud.
One look back at my daughter’s face showed wide, tearful eyes as she whimpered, “Mommy, I pooped in those too.”
Have you ever been too afraid to ask for help? Ashamed that you purposefully hid from encountering the pastor’s wife in your sweatpants and unwashed hair at the grocery store? Anxious about truthfully answering the dreaded question, “How ARE you?”
One of the reasons I think we feel these ways sometimes is because we desire others to have an exalted view of ourselves. We strive to keep up the appearance of being Pinterest Perfect so that other people will like us, accept us, or at the very least think we aren’t a hot mess!
Keeping up the charade of being perpetually wonderful is not only exhausting, but will persist in keeping others and God at a continual distance.