You Become

He said “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” – The Velveteen Rabbit.

You become.Β The crappy things that happen to you in life, that you just don’t understand and don’t really deserve rub off your velvet fur and stain your pretty, pink satin ears. You are becoming every time you come to your knees before God unable to form words. You are becoming when you you learn how to make twenty dollars last until your next paycheck. You are becoming when it is 2am and your are laughing so hard that you’re crying in the car with your girlfriends. You become when you start leaving your childish ways behind you; when you take a deep breath and face the world when all you really want to do is quit school and drive home. And what matters the most is that there is One who is loving your shabby fur off your cotton stuffed tummy, and stretching and pulling your worn fabric until the day that you become Real. He loves us in a way that makes our torn and tattered outside beautiful. He takes our tears and burns and turns them into loveliness.

This is for the friend who is exhausted, hurting, and ready to give up. Take heart, because the One who is called Love will pick up the broken pieces of your life and cause you toΒ become.Β 

Giving

Christmas time is upon us. Days are getting shorter, the air is getting colder, and somehow my classes are getting longer..
Today I was thinking about Christmas gifts; the good ones, the bad ones, the awkward ones. And I remembered a story that brought tears to my eyes right in the middle of my professor’s lecture about Tertullian. She must think I am quite passionate about ancient Rome.
One Christmas many moons ago (approximately 7 years), my crazy family gathered around the living room in Marietta, Georgia and our traditions commenced. We carefully pulled out each item from our stockings and posed for a picture with our chap sticks and oranges. My dad makes several corny jokes, we drink about 5 cups of coffee each, and the opening of the gifts begins. I think I opened a box of training bras and started crying for the embarrassment. My mother beamed at every handmade ornament and dollar store chatchka. My father lounged in his recliner, my sister handled the camera, my older brother shot out cynical remarks, and Joel sat nervously and quietly eyeing the gifts he wrapped under the tree.
Finally it came his time for everyone to open up his gifts at the same time. Slowly, we all carefully peeled back the red paper and made over-exaggerated reactions of surprise and delight at the sight of our hand crocheted hats and scarves. Little nine year old Joel Hewins locked himself in his room for an entire week, forcing his short little fingers to knit to the point of breaking. As he watched us all open his gifts, tears glistened on his sweet red cheeks. My little brother was so overcome with the joy of giving. For the first time, he really gave of himself. He truly wanted to make us all happy. It wasn’t about him. It was about us.
I can really learn something from my then nine year old brother. In this season of giving where we celebrate the most Perfect Gift (shout out to my CBC peeps) by giving gifts, let us all examine our hearts. In this season of giving and charity, let it truly be done in the image of our Creator, who gave so freely of himself for the love of his rebellious creation. Let us give deeply from ourselves in our time, our things, and our emotions. May the joy of giving bless you this Christmas season as it blessed my brother, Joel.