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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Spinning Plates

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son,

and they will call him Immanuel” – which means, “God with us.”

Matthew 1:23 NIV

December is a month that takes our multi-tasking skills to a new level. The closer it gets to Christmas the more I feel like a circus performer spinning plates. Even though other family members sometimes pitch in and help with the holiday planning, I still tend to be the circus performer that takes to the center ring.

I own some beautiful holly Christmas dishes that I treasure. I pull these dishes out of storage right after Thanksgiving so that I can enjoy using them the entire month of December. As I begin to prepare for Christmas I visualize myself spinning plates. In my mind each one of my “holly” plates has a holiday task written on it that must be completed before the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve.

I see myself spinning these plates on long poles so that my feet can move quickly from chore to chore. The first plate that I begin to spin has the word “decorate” written on it and then I start a second plate spinning and that plate is labeled “shopping.” I now I start the plate that is marked “baking” whirling around and just as I am about to add the “Christmas cards” plate, my first plate labeled “decorate” begins to slow down. I quickly give it another spin as I run out to Target for wrapping paper and ribbon, so that I can start the “wrapping gifts” plate spinning! The next thing I know, the “Christmas cards” plate falls to the ground and breaks, because I was shopping a little too long! I know that I will have to start that plate spinning again in a day or two. Meanwhile, the “decorate the pre-lit tree” plate begins to spin. It is rotating at high speed when I realize that the middle strand of lights on this pre-wired tree, is completely burnt out! Needless to say, that as that plate slows down and I manage to give it a quick spin so I can try to determine what to do about this catastrophe! I am now so exasperated, that I decide to give my “baking” plate another spin as I rush into the kitchen. I pop a pan of cookies into the oven and in exactly twenty-seven minutes the “baking” plate crashes to the ground in a burnt blaze of glory, because I failed to set the kitchen timer for ten minutes. At this point, I collapse into heap on the kitchen floor and wonder who ever thought up Christmas in the first place! One by one, the remainder of my beautiful Christmas “holly” plates crash to the floor breaking into a hundred pieces.

Through my tears I remember who it was that "thought up" Christmas! Yes indeed, it was God! How could I forget that? Today I am remembering how very simple God kept Christmas. God’s first Christmas consisted of two obedient parents, one precious Christ Child, a donkey, a stable, a manger, some cattle, a star, and a handful of lowly shepherds with their sheep. Although, I do have to admit that the heavenly hosts were a bit of a magnificent spectacular touch! I guess God just couldn’t help himself. After all, it was a grand heavenly celebration!

My prayer today is that during this month of Christmas preparation I will not forget the simplicity of that first Christmas. I want to do the things that will bring joy to my family and others and yet manage my time wisely and evaluate my activities as I prepare. Less can be more when we include time with Immanuel. On Christmas day I want to set my table with my beautiful “holly” Christmas plates and as I bow my head in prayer I will thank God for his gift to humanity. Immanuel, God with us.


Do you relate to how hectic Christmas preparation can become?

Do you long to prepare for the holiday with purpose and meaning?

What can you do this year to simplify Christmas?


Dear God,

Please help me to set aside a time of reflection and prayer each day of December, so that I may focus on your son, Jesus Christ, who is the reason we celebrate Christmas. Show me a couple of things that I might change so that I can make my holiday preparations less hectic and more meaningful. I pray that you will remind me to guard my time and simplify my activities

In Your Son’s Name I pray. Amen.