The doors swing open wide, and I head into the post office, with the cool breeze trailing, to mail off my latest article. With no waiting line, it's going to be a good day. Yes! I just feel it.
"Do you need stamps today?" the lady asks.
Do I need...? "Yes, I do."
"What kind?" She displays several ... gingerbread houses, ornaments.
"I'll take the Christmas ornaments," I cheerily say, with a smile. They're cute—red, green, and blue dangly things. And with all the Hallmark Christmas love movies my daughter's been recording and forcing upon me, Christmas is definitely in the air surrounding my merry heart.
The lady corrects me. "They're Holiday Baubles," she sternly says, without a smile.
I'm not quick on my toes. And suddenly I'm reduced to wondering if I've been calling them the wrong name all along. Like I've done something wrong. I walk out, my soul deflated. Confused.
The more I think about it, sitting in the car and gripping the steering wheel till my knuckles whiten, the more saddened and confused I feel. The bitter mixture stirs and stirs in my heart and gut, pleading for Rolaids. Some type of relief. Some type of salvation.
I look closer ...
When I arrive home, I look up the word "bauble" in the dictionary. I'm 40+ years old, and I'm not sure I've ever heard that word before. Okay, so maybe I'm not as worldly as others. But I think I know what a Christmas ornament looks like.
"Bauble" is actually a Middle English word, from Old French. Even The Free Dictionary on-line gets it right by stating this:
Most might say not to make a big deal about it. It's just stamps. Lady, it's just stamps. Come on. Get Real.
And nothing is wrong with the word "holiday" or "bauble" ...
But I've been corrected. That's the heart of the issue.
You won't say Christmas, you'll say holiday.
And it hurt my heart. Her words, attitude, hurt my heart. Yeah, O Soul Within, it hurts, and the pain is real. It's one thing to be imposed upon ... sanctions imposed on our hearts ... we tend to expect impositions these days ...
Don't you love Jesus. Don't you pray. Don't you trust Him. Don't you tell anyone if you do. And don't you share Him. Don't ask, don't tell policy. And if you're asked, you better deny ... if you want to live.
But in the Bible Belt? It hurts to see the belt loosening. And it appears to have definitely been loosened a notch or two. And still the weight above that belt is lopping over onto people, individuals, hearts ...
The very omission reduces Christmas to a mere trinket of little value; trifle. It mocks everything God did for us—the miraculous Luke 2 wonder of the world, Jesus, the Son, virgin birth, becoming the God-man. It says that Christ—surrendering everything to come to this earth, sacrificing more than we'll ever know, to exchange Heaven for us, to be born in a lowly manger, to live for us, to fight for us, to die for us ... for our sin—means nothing. The miracle is trifle.
It smugly yet naively says, "What miracle?"
The very act says that "Christmas" is not worth mentioning—
A first class love means nothing.
The miracle of Christmas reduces from a God-man Day to a mere man-made day.
With the chaos and violence—hardships, need—that woefully weave the frayed fragments of our world, when empty eyes and empty hearts and empty stomachs are desperate for salvation, reaching out with empty hands ... there has never been more a time to keep Christ in Christmas. To keep Christmas in Christmas. To look for the miracles.
O Soul Within, some things are black and white. What will you allow to forever stick on your heart's wall? Be careful what you let stick on your heart's wall.
O Soul Within, you may feel powerless. But remember God's power and what you can do—
~Remember to pray.
~Remember what you really need—Jesus' first class love. Forever.
~Remember Christ in Christmas, keep Him there, let truth nestle into your heart forever and ever.
~Remember to impart Him to your children.
~Remember that you have it right. Don't get used to the wrong. Getting used to the wrong doesn't make it right.
~And as long as you have a voice, O Soul Within, remember to say, with every Christ-given privilege and right ...
*How do you safeguard your heart from subtle changes and stealth arrows continually thrown? Can you add to the list? What do you say? What do you remind your self?