Monday, November 28, 2011

Missing the Point?

Yesterday at church, it was announced that, because Christmas falls on Sunday this year, there would be no church services that day. Huh? No services on Christmas? Isn't that kinda like having a birthday celebration without the guest of honor?

Seriously, I do get it. One does not have to be in church to worship God or to celebrate Jesus' birth. One can worship in their own home, in the beauty of nature, in a car in rush hour traffic, or anywhere else. God is everywhere. And as long as our Christmas celebrations commemorate what the holiday is really all about, we're good.

My grandmother used to go to church every Sunday. Grandpa, on the other hand, read his Bible down by his still. Guess who knew it chapter and verse?

And here's a bit of advice: forget about Santa. God knows when you're sleeping, when you're awake, when you've been bad or good.... If you've been good, breathe a sigh of relief. If you've been bad, well, I hear those life reviews on the other side can be painful. You get to see every screw-up you've ever made. And when you're asked when you want to be for eternity, you'd better have the right answer!

Bear in mind that He doesn't care how much money you've made, how successful you've been, what property you own or other such unimportant crap. He cares that we have loved well. He cares how we've treated others  (being an animal lover, I like to think this includes all creatures). He cares that we've accepted his gift of salvation and put Him first in our lives.

Not too long ago, I told my pastor I believed God created me to be a warrior. Much to my surprise, he didn't disagree with me. I didn't get that look that says so much without a word. He said he thought I'd been made a warrior to enable me to survive all I'd experienced. I'll take it one step further and suggest that he made me who I am and gave me the experiences I had for two reasons: one, I had pride issues. Of all the Seven Deadly Sins, that's the one that always gave me the most trouble. I had to hit bottom to free myself of it, and I had to be a fighter to make the climb out of that pit. Sometimes, God lets us struggle, just as any parent allows their children to struggle to enable them to grow. I'd been a spoiled child who was given everything I wanted. I was a spoiled author who was given too much too fast. 

So I had to start all over again.

In the journey back from rock bottom,  I did evolve. I came back stronger, but also more compassionate. I have zero tolerance for the mistreatment of people or animals who are unable to defend themselves. Hey, I don't mind kicking butt when the object of the butt-kicking really has it coming, but there's no sport in kicking puppies!

I'm the one who will go to the animal shelter and, while everyone else is  snapping up the really cute puppies and kittens, I'll seek out the most pathetic creature in the place--the one that's old and scruffy, days away from execution, huddled in the back of the cage, looking as if he/she has lost all hope. Collin once said I'd look at the most butt-ugly critter on the planet and say, "Oh, isn't he cute...."

Guilty as charged.

I leave you today with a final thought from the words of St. Catherine of Siena: "Be who God meant you to be and you'll set the world on fire."

I invite you to check out William's and my discussion on collaborations at Writers of Mass Distraction and the new look Collin and I created for Sam's Story, along with William's review of A Time for Legends (The Unicorn's Daughter) at  Speak of the Devil and  Beishir Books!


  1. That is a great sentiment for all to adhere to. It's not where you worship, but that you do it. I'm not a church-goer per se, but I have been known to grace the church's doorsteps a time or two. People forget what Christmas is all about. It's too bad, too.

    Great blog!

  2. BTW, I always kind of look at the cute kitties, and puppies...but, sometimes the straggly ones are cute too!

  3. There's far too much emphasis placed on the commercialization of Christmas, but these days it seems there's far too much commercialization of everything you see in life.

    Perfectly said, Norma! And I love that quote!

  4. I love the rock bottom picture and the whole post is wonderful. Our church is extra busy on Christmas making sure everyone has food and little ones have toys. I think our Pastor works quadruple hard that day--but he loves it. It is the day that makes every other day possible. :)

  5. I really enjoyed this post and read it aloud to your pastor (as he never reads blogs, including mine) and he got a big grin on his face.

    He was tickled that someone actually remembered something he said. That doesn't usually happen to him.

  6. When I went to church, my church had two Christmas Eve services and so if Sunday was Christmas we didn't have a service. We figured if someone was visiting family they would know and if they called or saw the Church ad they would know.
    Your right God is where you find him.

    I also agree with what your pastor said about you from what you have written. Not so sure about your second part.
    We make our choices and boy did I screw up big time with my choices, if their is a wrong one I seem to pick it but I don't think or hope that whatever God there is didn't destroy my life and the childrens so I/we could rebuild it. Because if that is true he waited much to long for me.
    I think ones center or beliefs can help us to be strong to overcome what the world throws at us.
    But if any kind of karma works, my x would be suffering in the pit of hell instead of living the life of wealth while my children and I struggle to overcome what he did to us.
    My daughter once said I was the strongest person she knows but for me it is simple choice, I figure you either meet the day or live in the closet. I chose the day and so it seems did you ! Some in my family are still trying to figure this choice out.
    You are diffidently one of the strongest people I know beside my friend who is fighting brain cancer with a strangle hold on life and she refuses to let go.

    I love your shelter story and that is truly a wonderful quote.

    cheers, parsnip

  7. Wow,
    I wrote way too much, not my fault ! see what happens when you post such great thoughts !
    Plus it is late and I am rambling.

    cheers, parsnip

  8. Norma: What a great post! I had a thought and it evaporated. Ummmm.....Anyway, peeps are missing the point about this holiday and any holiday, really. None of it is about us.

    As for life's lesson, mine was to learn how to trust God and your own gut. Something I didn't do so well in my twenties and sometimes thirties.

    And as for our adult children, it really sucks to have to let them wobble before they really grow up and walk. Going through that with NoNo right now. There are days I want to pick her up and make everything work in her life like it should.

    Thanks for the post!

  9. Wonderful post. What a great reminder of why we're here!

  10. I'd like to say thank you to everyone who commented. Ironically, I wrote this post because I was angry, infuriated by the treatment someone close to me had received from a haughty, self-important person she'd once believed was her friend.

    Carole: PJ should know that more people remember than he thinks. They may not be able to recall the exact words, but they remember the message, and isn't that what matters?

    Parsnip: No, I don't think God creates problems for us. I think that comes from our own actions or those of others, but I do believe he often allows us to struggle, to grow, to find our way back to Him when we need to.

    Shelly: I know how you feel. Collin's 32 now and I'm still an overprotective mother!

  11. You were right, Norma! This one really brings out the personal!

  12. Really great post! Lots of good food for thought:). I don't get not having church when Christmas falls on Sunday. Thanks for sharing some wonderful insight on how God wants us to live and the ways He molds us through experience!

  13. I really don't get the no church on Sunday at Christmas. Really. But hey... whatever works. Thanks for sharing about your journey and evolution.


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