A Little Creative Manic-Depression

I suppose that’s what you’d call it. I’m in the no-man’s-land right now between the phases –the “mania” of having about a million and three great ideas that just need to be done, and the “depression” of realizing that the stack of dishes won’t do themselves, and there still is less than a month until Christmas. I need to find a balance. So, I’m sitting here, listening to Michael Card, who I’ve forgotten about -and I forgot how much I enjoy his music, and trying to recenter myself.

If you’ve ever thrown pots (in the CON-structive sense, not the DE-structive sense), you know that there’s a crucial first step that will affect the success of your whole effort -centering the clay on the wheel. If you don’t do it properly, nothing else you do to that clay will work. It will refuse to yield to the potter’s hand. So, if I represent the clay –I guess that means I can’t center myself, can I? I’m feeling the wonkiness build already, that moving and rushing and plodding along …all of it without having a clue where I’m supposed to go next. So, I’m writing, since that seems to be what God said when I asked Him what to do next, with a half-messy house, three or six projects in process, and a kitchen full of dinner shrapnel.

I forget so many times to ask. “You have not because you ask not,” Jesus said, and He’s right. It’s not as if he enjoys watching us fumble around trying to figure it all out on our own –it’s that He enjoys being asked.

I forget that my hands, my words, have no life or power on their own. They need the breath of God blowing through them to move things, to move hearts. Without them, they are dead echoes. Clanging gongs. Clashing cymbals. I’ve been through a lot of frustration and suffering and depression springing from my empty efforts to gift the Giver with something he didn’t need in the first place. What He needs -what he wants is a vessel. I am most fulfilled when I am that vessel. The things in this world that get me most inspired …are the vessels. They’re the people that I watch and hear that so obviously have that Spirit breath moving through them. Handel is one of these vessels I marvel at.

I’m listening to Christmas music, and I rediscovered BOTH of my tapes of Handel’s Messiah this week. For about two years, I’ve had either one part or the other, but not both. I’ve been listening to the first part the last couple days, trying purposefully to expose the kids to it …we listen to lots of music, but not nearly enough variety, and not nearly enough classical stuff. This is a good introduction, in my humble opinion. It has easy to recognize music, and the words are easy to understand, and it’s straight from Scripture… not the typical Bible passage we read at Christmas, but my favorite telling of the Christmas story, from Isaiah 53.

I’m rethinking Christmas this year. It’s easy for me to lose the busy-ness for me any year, and easier this year to lose all the emphasis on presents, because, quite frankly, we don’t have the money to even think of keeping up with the VanderJoneses this year. Sometimes even involuntary simplicity bestows great blessing :). We’re doing some of the older traditions we started a couple years ago –we’re doing the Jesse Tree, which is sort of an illustration of how Jesus wasn’t Plan B, but was purposed through the entire Old Testament. Right now, we’re going through the Noahic and Abrahamic covenants. God’s promises, leading to his Promised One. I really hope the kids “get” it more every year. It’s fun to see how they progress every year. And, we put up the Christmas tree, and the little wooden nativity figures are in the window. We have a huge picture window out front, probably a vestige of when our building was the telephone exchange, so I decided this year to take advantage of it, and put up a display with the first verses of the Gospel of John, talking about light. I have some (unlit) candles and an oil lamp or two on one side with the first couple verses, and on the other window, the “Word became flesh” part, with the nativity figures …which right now are filed up in a line, thanks to Corwin’s ingenuity. I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but it’s kind of fun to put a non-traditional view of Christmas (no Santas, snow scenes, presents, or gaudy trees) in our window.

Anyway, in light of “non-traditional” Christmas things, I’ll share with you my new favorite Chrismas song. Enjoy! And remember, you can’t fully understand Christmas without Easter… or vice versa. The video isn’t the best, so just look somewhere else and listen.

Will you hear the call?
Of Him who did not spare His son
But gave him for us all
On earth there is no power
There is no depth or height
That could ever separate us
From the love of God in Christ

-from “Immanuel” by Michael Card