When my grandma comes to visit us, after every meal she sneakily starts taking people’s plates and trying to clear the table. Once someone in our family catches on, the banter begins:
“No, Grandma, we can take care of the plates.”
“Oh, Ashley, I need to. ”
I try to take the plates from her, and she smiles as mischievously as her sweet face will allow her to as she lifts them out of my grasp and carries them to the sink. Then she proceeds to wash dishes while we clear the table and do cleanup. She’ll say, “Oh, Deborah [my mother], let me take care of that. You’ve just been working so hard, and I haven’t been doing anything.” When, in reality, she’s been helping prepare for every meal, and she’ll scrub every dish afterwards. Then she’ll load or unload the dishwasher and take dirty towels down to the laundry room and tell my mom that she’s doesn’t want to get in her way.
This woman is the epitome of a servant. The most generous woman I’ve ever met, when she leaves our house, it’s as clean or cleaner than when she came. (probably the latter) I remember coming into breakfast at her house a few years ago and finding twenty-five dollars under our forks at the table. She’s supported every mission trip I’ve been on, come to see my volleyball games every year of high school, and never, ever missed my birthday.
I would like to be this woman someday.
When you combine my mom, who has a lot of my grandma’s cleaning and hospitality tendencies, with my aunt and grandma for a few days, the result is too many people in the kitchen and an influx of people offering more food to everyone else during the entire meal (which makes all of us eat more) and at least three people hopping up after the meal so they can beat the other two to cleaning up. It’s sort of messed up, but it’s how we show we love each other in my family. :)
After realizing last night that I didn’t have enough room in my room for the things I got (along with what I plan to purchase with my gift cards and Christmas money), I began a purge. This morning, I removed about 20 items from my closet and a large number from my top two drawers of my dresser, some of which I hope to get money for by consigning them. There’s a pile of hangers on my floor, empty because I’ve been so successful at purging my closet. Then again, there’s also two laundry baskets on my floor, full of the clothes I haven’t put away yet. Well, you get some things done and you don’t get others done. LIfe goes on.
My dad decided that since a large part of our active family was going to be together, he would organize a family 5k run/2k walk. complete with candy cane and gingerbread man mile markers. and prizes. and hoopla. So, we ran. Well, some ran. I ran a mile, then decided that I was happy with my progress. So, I walked back to the finish line to sit with my grandma and hold the paper chain for them to run through when they completed the race. On my way back, I was thinking about Jesus and Christmas. (I know, shocker on both counts.) I was just realizing that Jesus’ love for us isn’t just huge or really nice to have – it’s self-sacrificing in more ways that just His death.
Jesus was in Heaven, where Christians long to go, where angels praise His name incessantly. No tears, no pain, no discomfort. Perfection. And then He came to earth, instantly to be humbled and put into discomfort. His first bed was full of hay. It smelled bad. Then He had to be an assistant to a carpenter, to work hard and sweat and feel pain. He had to grow up – we all know that’s not as easy as it seems – and then He spent 3 years serving people, teaching people, traveling, sometimes having no place to stay. It’s a far cry from a dream vacation. It’s not even your typical mission trip, where you expect to be in discomfort. He came into that on purpose, in order to seek and save that which was lost.
That kind of love is amazing. Incredible. Unmatched and never to be matched.
And this is why Jesus and Christmas are so astonishing.