Monday, November 28, 2011

Nutcracker, Target and the Virgin Mary

Amanda and I went to see the Russian Nutcracker in Knoxville’s Tennessee Theater this weekend. It was a great time. It was the first time we’ve been to a ballet together and the first time we’ve had "alone time" in a while.
I’ll let her tell you how well I did in the midst of a two and a half hour session of “men in tights.” It really wasn’t bad … nor was I. There was only one period during the ballet where I think Amanda might have really been embarrassed by my immaturity. Oh well.
On our way home Sunday morning, Amanda wanted to stop by Target for “just a little while.” Her version of “in and out” is more like besieging a city!!! I mean, really … I always expect to be there for the duration and she usually proves me right!
So I’m sitting there in Target with my honey and decide that it’s as good a time as any to send out my “Word of the Day” texts. I’m sending them out and it usually takes a half hour to send them out to all my people and while I’m doing this I begin to hear the rumblings.
For all of you people – particularly you men who are simply going shopping with their wives to “support her habit” (I know how you feel brother) – the rumblings start off low key because they’re so close to the front door but by the time they are halfway down the first isle, you know that the spirit of Christmas is a lot like Elvis … it has left the building!
At first I was amazed by this because it’s been so long since I’ve been in a shop the day or weekend after Thanksgiving. There’s nothing good or enjoyable about it racing from sale to sale, I don't care how good of a deal you think you're getting. But my mistake was in thinking that this was some kind of new phenomenon. It’s not. It’s happened since the first Black Friday and will continue until our Lord returns. The “Anti-Spirit of Christmas” is everywhere during the "holiday shopping season." It’s absolutely nuts! There will be NO mistletoe kissing anywhere near Target during the season!
What I realized is that the reason people become so angry is because they are so self-absorbed – self-indulgent. I heard some random guy in the men’s clothing section belittling his wife because she thinks everyone wears black (which they do) and he wants to get this generic piece of clothing because he looks good in black. He spoke to her like she was the idiot!
And the same with a mother and her two little boys. She was consumed with doing her shopping but her boys – as any children would do in that situation – were more interested in going to the toy section (which was where they were probably headed anyway). But the anger with which this mother addressed her children is what concerned me. Parents – if you don’t want your kid to badger you in the toy section THEN DON’T TAKE THEM IN THE FLIPPIN’ STORE IN THE FIRST PLACE, YA IDIOT!
It just bewilders me. Why we put such high expectations on our children or on other people and, when they’re not met, then we get angry. I, unfortunately, do this with Amanda all too often. What’s really sad is that I don’t communicate those expectations to her beforehand. She does that to me as well. Our biggest arguments come from nonexistent communication of expectations.
Its Christmas time so maybe we should all take a lesson from a teenage virgin named Mary:
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
“Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel[e] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
“Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
“The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
“Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.” – Luke 1:26-38

            Not everything in life will go as you plan but if you trust in the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, some of those things that don’t go as you planned will go far beyond anything you could ever imagine!

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