In America, we don’t talk about money. Especially if we have too much, or too little. Some strange taboo that has leaked down through the years from the minds of those first fierce settlers, determined to be “beholden to no man”. Americans take care of themselves, and no one needs to know exactly how that happens. Pull ourselves to our feet by our own bootstraps as they say.
But sometimes there are miracles…sometimes His glory sweeps through your life and you are left spinning at the bold brush with His presence. And I fear that the sorrow would run deep and black if the world thought we had pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps, when in reality He had stooped down and brought the miraculous into our small simple lives.
And so I do not stand by taboo today, when there is glory to be had.
Our family was prepared for Christmas. Everyone had a gift to open, something to stuff his stocking, and we had plenty of delicious things laid by for eating on Christmas day. Truly wealthy by worldwide standards.
And yet worry clung about my heart for we were running pretty low. We had enough in savings to visit my parents after Christmas, and between checking and cash we had enough for dogfood and maybe a turnkey for Christmas if it wasn’t too big, but not enough for snowpants and boots for my oldest, or the sleds we had been hoping to get his little brothers, if I substituted frozen veggies for bamboo shoots and bean sprouts in the fried rice on Christmas Eve…and I had some cash in my sock drawer…
On the one hand we are painfully wealthy and so I did not expect the miraculous, there are so many others far more deserving. And on the other hand I felt the pinch, the oh so slight panic of making it all work. The fear that the Hunky Hubby would spend too much on my gift and use up our turkey money. The first gift came in the mail. A gift certificate for dinner and an offer to babysit. Priceless. Later as I was running around the house chasing boys down and throwing them into snowclothes, watching Christmas balls shatter and taking my youngest pee every 30-40 min a knock came at our door. A friend with a huge bag of groceries and a smile. Then the Hunky Hubby gave me some Christmas cards. A check, an enormous check from some friends, for Christmas they said. And in an anonymous card came sweet words of encouragement to lighten the heaviest heart and two gift cards, for Target and dinner out. In one moment everything changed. Rushed and flattened my His glory I just stared and laughed and hugged the Hunky Hubby and cried. No one knew. No one but God. But they cared. And somehow God in His baffling wisdom, gathered up their love and rained it down upon us, right upon our frantic rushing and quiet panic. And I saw Him. Peace, quiet, power. And yes…love.
But the miracles were not yet complete. Later at church this sweet grandpa man just walked up to the Hunky Hubby and slipped a wad of cash into his shirt pocket. What the heck! Is God crazy? I think so sometimes. I finished my Christmas shopping yesterday and there was just enough to get exactly what we had dreamed of getting for our family. A turnkey, sleds, clothes, snowpants…With eight dollars extra as a bonus. Is it fair? Is it fair what He’s done? Showering so much upon us so unexpectedly when so many others await His touch. He truly is not a “tame lion” as C.S. Lewis says. So I will open my mouth wide to receive all that He has lavished upon us and commit my heart to give, just as those precious believers gave and blessed us. Truly God is wild and wonderful.
And while I may have broken some small taboo today, He has broken so very much more. He has broken the head of the serpent who held our contract with death. Broken the veil of the temple that kept all things holy from us. Broken the body of Christ as He walked innocent up to our cross. But on Christmas, this is when we must remember that He broke through the walls of heaven, and came down, past galaxies countless, suns and planets and mysteries untold, through the bright blue atmosphere of our tiny Earth and into the womb of a girl. And he grew just like us and was born out of pain into the beautiful horror that is our world. He has broken everything that mattered all for us, out of love.