Adjusting to life's changes with hope… through poetry, haiku, and commentary

Should I wish you a “good” Christmas?


Christmas is almost here, the new year is coming, and the job of my lifetime is so close I can taste it. Another busy day lies ahead. We have both been busy. My wife was a gift wrapping machine last night. I flew in and out of UPS early this morning, so I could get back to write this blog and work on some poetry… and the job search.

Since 11/22 this has been the drill: Step 1 – I search for jobs until I can’t see straight; Step 2 – I send a few resumes and cover letters out; Step 3 – a few rejections come in and the ‘no response’ list grows; Step 4 – repeat Steps 1-3. The way some job search engines are today, you seldom know what company you applied for, only where. Who says “no”? Did a slick computer data search pull out key words and generate a “no” response email or was it a human “no”? Recently, two people called me to say “no”.  That was very refreshing. I updated my work search log the best I could.

No job yet, but there is good news. The Lord and I made a deal in prayer. I don’t want to settle for anything less than His best for me. I don’t even want anything good that is less than His calling for me. My destiny is at stake here; I cannot depend on my discernment, on what I understand.  So, by His power, who sent our Lord in the flesh, by that very same resurrection power — He is my discernment, my wisdom, my understanding on these things.

Here is the deal. The first job I’m offered is the one I’m supposed to have. He is working in the hearts and minds of men on my behalf, so, by His power, I will not take or get offers I’m not supposed to have. Father, my destiny job only, please.

If you chuckled at this, you need to regroup.  I have a scripture to back this up. Granted, the Apostle Paul is talking about Israel here, but if the scripture fits, wear it —

for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. ( Romans 11:29 NIV84)

And to what purpose? Mine or His? According to His purpose, of course.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV84)

God gives us gifts and dreams, talents and ideas that time does not diminish. When I was a boy, living in our ranch house in Clifton NJ, my brother and I shared a bedroom. My pride and joy was a small gray plywood set of bookshelves. I can still see them — Tom Swift Jr., The Hardy Boys, and later when I got older, Sherlock Holmes, sci-fi by Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, poetry by Edna St. Vincent Millay, mysteries by John Dickson Carr. I loved my books. I didn’t have many friends; books filled the gap. As early as 4th grade, I knew I loved books, the touch of them, the smell of them. What compares to the smell of opening a brand new National Geographic? Nothing. Try and get that out of an e-book. E-books are practical in today’s world, but it isn’t the same thing as having a book in hand. Will the classiest e-book reader display pages that gradually yellow?

Talking about 4th grade, our teacher, Ms. Gamble, had a magic closet at the rear of the classroom. One time and one time only per class year she would go inside her magic closet, then call us up by name one at a time. She gave each of us an item on loan from her magic closet for us to take home for a few weeks – to learn about it, research it, report on it.

“Alan.” I got up and walked to the door of the magic closet. Ms. Gamble was old, but the closet smelled older. She turned to me and said, “Alan, pick one.” (The closet was packed full. I took a big bag from the shelf closest to me.) “Good for you! That one will make you dream and take you to faraway places. Do not open the bag until you get home. It can break; don’t drop it.”

What was it? It sat on my school desk all that day. When I got home, my mom thought there was something wrong with me because I didn’t even want a snack. I couldn’t wait to get to my room and open it up.

Luckily, my little brother was outside playing. I was alone in my room when I took it out of the bag, removed the newspaper wrappings, and placed it on my desk. It was about 2 books tall and about 5 or 6 books wide.

I stared at it; it stared back at me.

Queen Nefertiti Bust

From Ms. Gamble’s 4th grade magic closet

“It” was a “her” with a tall hat that was flat on top. Big scary eyes. How was I going to sleep with that thing in the room?

Anyway, it turned out that I had a bust of Queen Nefertiti of Egypt on my desk at home for a few weeks. I think I remember seeing her eyes move and follow me at night….

I gave my report in class. Ms. Gamble told me good things, unlike my dad. My father told me I was slow. Ms. Gamble told me I had a great imagination; I could read and write about anything. My father told me I had a bad memory. Once, for a grade school recital, I had trouble memorizing a line about Eskimo sunglasses made of shells with slits in them. He yelled at me and told me I couldn’t remember anything. I froze when he yelled me; for most of my life I froze when I had to memorize something and couldn’t do it. Ms. Gamble told me not to forget my dreams. (CAUTION: Fathers – be careful about what you say to your children. Good or bad, it will stick to their soul.)

I didn’t forget Ms. Gamble or what she said. My dreams have been smashed, bashed, lost and then found. Much like me.

You have to understand something here. Our heavenly Father, the giver of gifts, never forces us to do anything. What will we choose? The biggest joy of my life now is my desire to do His best, nothing less. This unemployment will give me a fresh opportunity to excel. My desire to be obedient is NOT an issue of the Law, but a result of amazing Grace. I want to please Him with all my heart. I want my gifts to shine for Him. Jesus has lovingly placed that desire there in my heart.

Don’t miss your calling by settling for the “good”. Have the courage to pursue, wait, and accept His “best” — Our true heavenly Father always wants to give His sons and daughters His best. This helps trigger our desire to do our best, whatever we are doing — all to His glory.

Oswald Chambers discusses this very well in his devotional for May 25th entitled, “The Good or the Best”. [I’m not sure if I’m allowed to quote the whole thing or not; so, please find it and read the selection on your own, which considers Abram’s choice in Genesis 13:9.] Here is an excerpt:

Whenever our right becomes the guiding factor of our lives, it dulls our spiritual insight. The greatest enemy of the life of faith in God is not sin, but good choices which are not good enough. The good is always the enemy of the best.

Rely on God to choose the best for us. He always has; He always will. What Christmas gift can out give what the Father has already given us? He has given us the gift of His son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and King.

Now you know why we don’t go around wishing people merely a “good” Christmas. Our Father’s calling and gifting of His children – His best for us –  is for life. Well, forever, actually. Have a great blessed Christmas! My wife and I look forward to celebrating our first Christmas together in Arizona.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Should I wish you a “good” Christmas?”

  1. Buffy

    after reading this I realize how little has been my faith . . . you are an honorable faithful man and I am blessed by you.

    Like

    Reply
    • alslaff

      My love, I trust the Lord, like me, finds you faithful with strong faith and character. The Lord will see us through this.

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

%d bloggers like this: