What is it with this season? I don’t think I’ve ever gone through it unscathed. It undoes me. It peels back all that I can skate around the rest of the year. I really should not be left alone. I’ve already learned to take a friend with me when I go shopping. I’m a lousy gift buyer in any season. I don’t trust my purchasing judgement. I’ve bought gifts in the past that even the salespeople wanted to warn me against. But in this season, I’m a wreck. I’ll stare at a divinity-fudge-making machine and think, “Yea, maybe she’d like that. She’s never voiced an interest in divinity fudge, but nothing else in this entire city of stores has anything I can afford that she’d want. And I’m a dead man if I try to buy clothes. I did that before. She wore the dress once, and then I never saw it again. Never. It just was gone one day. We’ve never talked about it. Yea, divinity fudge. That’s the ticket.”

During this season my entire life history comes crashing in upon me demanding to be reflected upon. I’m like those incredibly rare cases of people who remember everything that has ever happened to them. Except for me, its like I can still feel everything that’s ever happened to me. And it all finds its way to the surface from somewhere about December 10th until Christmas Day evening.

It just takes a song. Like right now I’m playing Mannheim Steamroller’s “Stille Nacht”. Over and over again. Something is trying to get out. At least that’s what it feels like; like a mystery that needs to be solved, or a dream where you can’t quite seem to get home.

Do you know the only thing that can bring me home? I have to intentionally call out to my Friend and my God, who alone knows how to make sense of me. I say, “I’m here again my Jesus. You know me. You’ve been this entire road with me. I can’t make sense of me right now. I can’t make sense of what’s up ahead. I can’t make sense of wrapping paper. Just don’t let me come undone. Let me enjoy the beautiful band of those who wish only my good. Let me enter in with them and see into their stuff and tell them I can see Jesus in them so beautifully. Let me look into my children’s eyes with the hope that says, ‘Look what He’s done in you my incredible daughters my incomparable son.’ Let me step away from this overwhelming flood of nearly 60 years of watching precious ones come and go, long enough to tell my precious wife that I am utterly grateful and healed because she didn’t go. Thank you my God.”

I keep thinking as I mature, this season won’t have this much power.
And each year, I’m always just as wrong about that.

So, here I am. And I need Jesus more than I ever have before. And I enjoy His presence more than I ever have before. So, I’ve got that going for me.

So, to our posse. The ones who hold out hope that the Original Good News of a God who fused us with Himself-thank you. Thank you for walking along with us. Thank you for walking alongside with me, as I stumble around in stores, picking up boxes of mulled wine-making kits, thinking, “Yea, maybe she’d like this.”

We get to, especially here in this season, stand close to each other. It would be good to be looking for who is stumbling nearby you.

They’ll look a lot like me.
They need you, you know.

John. One of the Three Amigos, part of the ever-growing tribe of grace