What I forgot to ask for this Christmas

It pays to open up your heart just a crack. Christmas knocks, and you can open up and let the spirit in or ignore that something that really matters is at the door. My heart was raw this year and not ready to be knocked on. But something made me go to the door. And what I found in the cold winter air outside that door was balm. Balm for the hurting soul. Balm for the discouraged. Balm for the weary. Children laughing. Friendships forming before my very eyes. I want to shut my eyes. I don't want to see. Because I am grown-up and I know that pain follows pleasure sometimes. The post-holiday doldrums might side-swipe you if you open your heart up even a crack for Christmas. For joy. For beauty.

But I watch these people, these people who are living out Christmas, who are living out their calling. They are doing it right among my children. Can I really stop seeing, blindfold myself to these people, just because other people have smiled like this, have lived out Christ with me, have lived out their calling for my children, for me, and then walked away without a word? How do you drop your guard when it's a shield permanently affixed on your heart, riveted there by fear and pain?

Grace. It floods in the cracked door. It rips off the blindfold. It pierces a little hole in the shield riveted there on my heart. Because Christmas...it's the baby born. It's hope reborn. It's redemption, which means beauty from ashes, repurchase of the damaged goods. And if I can be redeemed, then relationships can be, too. These people could be my people. 

I look at my 7 year old daughter's Christmas list. She wants a box of bandaids. Some new pants. A note pad. But she also wants a Kindle HD. My Christmas list is the box of bandaids, the new pants, the note pad. I didn't write down the Kindle HD. Because for a minute I forgot to believe in big Grace. I don't want to ask for the impossible, the improbable, the difficult. I just ask for the littlest things I need. The bandaid for the broken heart. The clothes for my battered body. The note pad on which to scribble down gifts through tears to try and drag my sinking ship out of the dark waters of the past.

But what I really want, really need, is the Kindle. The unexpected, the impossible, the expensive Grace.  Put back together this broken heart. Teach me to trust again. Not just You, Lord. People. Help me trust people. That's what's really at the top of my list. It's almost the end of the year. Year two of the guarded me. Can you help me drop my guard, loosen this shield over my heart, heal me in 2013?