Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Heart...Like a Hay-bale?

Many summers, while growing up, were spent haying. I remember being too little to handle any equipment, so I'd stay in the house. But at lunch time, my mom and I would head out with a cooler full of food and jars of iced tea and cold water to give to my dad and the "big" kids. We'd sit in the shade by the tractor until all of the lunch was gone. Then mama and I would hop back in the pickup and head home. In later years I got to drive the pickup with the hay rack on the back while my older siblings would throw the hay on. At some point in there I finally grew old enough to drive the swather and eventually, even load and unload hay.

My parents did a very good job of teaching us how to tell if the hay was ready to be baled or if the grass was even ready to be cut. They also explained that the dark green, leafy hay was very good. On the contrary, the big stemmed, yellow hay was not as desirable. Sometimes it is hard to tell which hay is good and which is bad because, although the outside might look fine the inside might be full of mold. Or, the outside might look yellow but when you pull the hay open, dark green leaves and some purple alfalfa tops are well preserved.

This is a great paradigm to how many of us are, especially around Christmas. On the outside we might act cheery and hopeful. Telling everyone about the things we have and about how happy they make us. But deep down, we're longing for something else or even for a completely different lifestyle. I'm not sure this approach to the Christmas season is right, the reason? well, Christmas shouldn't focus on THINGS. Sure the gifts are fun and least on Christmas day. But what about the week after or the month after? I've usually forgotten what was even under the tree by then. I'd like to charge you to remember that Jesus birth is the reason we celebrate Christmas. He, a sinless God, came to a horrible world where people kill, steal and are full of selfishness. Because of His birth we are given eternal life. This is truly the gift that can last us all year long. When we've accepted His gift of life, that happiness that is on the outside is a reflection of God's joy abounding inside of us.

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