Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Don't Look Now...But My Halo is Crooked

Don't look now...but my halo is crooked.
I blame it on the hot glue.

I had no idea how dangerous it could be to use a hot glue gun—until I totally lost my religion making Jesse Tree ornaments.

All I wanted to do was create a visual—a way to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas. Plus, it’s such a Christian-y thing to do. It should go a long way toward establishing my credibility as a good Christian mom. Right?


All was going according to plan—until I put a dab of hot glue on the back of some shiny fabric and that fabric took on an evil life of its own.

Before I could say “drat”, the fabric curled up on itself, trapping three of my fingers in the mess of shimmer and glue, all the while inflicting what felt like third degree burns.

In that moment, I didn’t think, I didn’t pray. I yelled. 

I did not yell “drat!”

I slung that little whale tail down on the counter with another expletive (or two).

Because it hurt bad. And the fabric was so pretty, but I only had enough to make the one little tail. And I wanted it to look nice. And I thought I had ruined it—and that I might need a skin graft.

I really can’t explain it. I don’t talk that way. I don’t generally even think that way. But it’s obviously in me, because it didn’t just leak out, it flew out.

So much for establishing my “good Christian mom” creds.

The actual tiny whale tail ornament
I managed to get the little tail, now slightly wrinkled, on the ornament, and as I attached it to the wreath it hit me—this was the ornament that represents Jonah’s story. 

Jonah had a good thing going before the whole Ninevah fiasco. People looked up to him. After all, God spoke to him and back then, God didn’t just speak to anybody. Jonah’s “good prophet of God” reputation was secure.

Until God threw a little hot glue in his direction—the idea of preaching to the Ninevites burned him up. And then all that junk inside him spewed out and he ran as far and as fast as he could in the opposite direction of God’s will.

So God chased him down.

Because God had two plans at work. Sure, He wanted the people of Ninevah to repent. But He also wanted to expose the junk in His prophet’s heart at the same time.

God’s like that. He doesn’t wait on you to get it all together before He uses you. He’s big on using cracked pots to carry His message to a world full of people who don’t need perfect Christians setting some standard they can never hope to live up to.

They need real Christians who know they can’t measure up but who rest secure in the hope they have in Christ alone.

If you’re having a perfect holiday season, that’s great. Really. I’m happy for you (and not at all itching to lob a shatter-proof ornament in your direction and knock the halo right off your head. Nope. Not me).

But if your holiday has already run off the rails…if your kids don’t want to sit angelically and listen to Bible stories every night…if your Christmas tree looks more like Charlie Brown’s than Clark Griswold’s…if your plan to buy a water buffalo for a family in Asia instead of an iPad went over like Great Aunt Edna’s fruit cake…if you lost your halo in the toy department of Target...

Then join me in remembering that God does not care how perfectly you celebrate His birth.

He cares about what’s going on in your heart as you do.

And even when you blow it—spectacularly—He doesn’t condemn you. He chases you.

Because He loves you.

If you have a hard time believing that, maybe you need to remember what we’re celebrating.

When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7, ESV)

That’s not the message of a religion you can lose.

That’s the message of the Gospel that we need to proclaim to everyone—not that we have it all together, but that we have it all in Him.

Because 2000+ years ago, the Savior was born...


Cathy Baker said...

Perhaps we could join forces and begin our own CHA Chapter (Crooked Halos Anonymous) here in Simpsonville? You're not alone, my friend, but your transparency has helped to straighten out my perspective.

Thanks, Lynn! Hope to see you Thursday :)

Vonda Skelton said...

I LOVE this, Lynn! What a great story and a powerful truth. Of course, I don't know about crooked halos. Hahahahaha!

One day I'll have to tell you my Walgreen's story. Let's just say Jesus wasn't the one they saw in me that day. :-(

Christmas blessings!

Ellen Andersen said...

I wouldn't yell "drat" either. I"m glad it's not just me. Thank goodness God uses cracked pots, with crooked halos like us.

Merry Christmas and I look forward to seeing you this week.

Susie said...

I am Lynn's mom and apparently the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree! While making Christmas wreaths last week I had a similar experience with hot glue. The words that came out during those intense moments of pain were not pretty. I am so thankful that God knows my frailty and is ready to forgive. It proves how much we needed Jesus to come to this earth to save us.