I decided to have my boys help me with the Christmas decorating this year. But maybe I should have started with something like the stockings or the tree skirt. Clearly, setting up my village was more than they… or I… could handle.
After giving some light instructions, I left my boys to my neatly boxed Christmas village and went to work in the living room. About forty minutes later, I bounced down the steps, excited to see their progress. My alarmed gasp wasn’t what they were expecting.
The cords were all tangled together and dangling in front. Most of the buildings had their backsides showing, and the light bulbs had been shoved all the way in–with those metal things you squeeze helplessly trapped inside. Obviously, no plan had been established for running electricity to the village, because cords were headed in random directions which did not meet up at the three pronged outlet in the extension cord. But the boys were puzzled. It just didn’t look wrong to them.
I gazed at my non-lit village facing the wrong way with is tangled cords in disarray, and reminded myself that I had not given clear instructions or guidelines, so I needed to be patient and kind. But about twenty minutes into the untangling, my resolve gave way to irritable griping and rude anger. I said things like, “With you guys helping me, it will only take three times as long!”
While I complained, the boys drifted down to their legos. By the time I got my village tidied up, lit, and hooked up to a timer, I felt better. But then I felt worse, remembering how I had discouraged and shamed my boys. I went down to make things right.
But as I was apologizing, I stopped midstream–my thoughts disrupted by the pile of boxes in the corner. I said, “Are those my village boxes? Oh no….!” The Styrofoam forms, which the various buildings fit perfectly into, were lying in a jumbled up heap. Rather than placing everything carefully back into the correct boxes, the boys had carelessly strewn everything on the floor. I reverted right back into a continuation of my previous lecture about being considerate and careful and orderly. My eyes were flashing, my voice was raised, and my finger was pointing.
Again, as I worked to fit the Styrofoam pieces into the correct boxes, my boys drifted back to their legos. And as my blood pressure leveled out, I realized I had blown it… again.
I silently slipped into their ‘lego room’ and watched as my precious boys absently concentrated on their building with skilled fingers and trained eyes. Ironically, I couldn’t see the order or design in their masterpieces any more than they could understand how to organize my village. What if they had asked me to fix a fallen wing of the lego castle, and then become critical and angry at my lack of skill? What was I thinking, anyway, asking them to set up my Christmas village?? Was I nuts? With deep remorse, I asked them to forgive me, and resolved to stop these ugly patterns.
Also ironic was my reason for trying to trim down my decorating time. I was rushing so I could get back to work on my preparations for speaking to a MOPS group, this week, on the topic of controlling women–and how not to become one. A controlling women is the type who may allow others to arrange her Christmas village, but any dangling, disconnected cords or strewn Styrofoam pieces immediately put her over the edge.
‘Controlling’ isn’t the kind of mom or woman that I want to be. And the only way to stop controlling others is to give up control–over my moments, my ideals, and even my Christmas village. My passion must be to surrender control to the Lord Jesus, who came near that first Christmas. As a man, Jesus didn’t walk through various villages taking control and ordering people around. He didn’t rearrange things or start yelling about the disarray. Rather, he humbled himself and served. He ultimately gave up his life, so that it would be possible for my life to look like his.
Jesus doesn’t want me to take control of the village around me. He wants me to stop controlling, and start living as he did–a humble servant of all. Especially to the dear, sweet children he has blessed me with.