Shiny hats, eruptive laughter and midnight kisses– it’s the common mental picture we envision about how we’ll spend the final hours ushering in the hope of a new year. Right?
For me, that day began in a rattan chair, sitting on a tropical seat cover, listening to Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire sing Christmas carols through Muzak. At my feet, an insulated cup of tea poured from the pot on my kitchen counter lies beside a shiny bag holding a corked bottle — a gift for our dentist.
Having my kids teeth cleaned on New Year’s Eve seemed like a good decision when I made the appointment.
“See you Thursday at nine o’clock . . . thank you . . . and Happy New Year to you too . . . bye, bye,” the receptionist says to a client on the phone in tandem with the lyrics of Rudolph — they used to laugh and call him names.
Poinsettias line the counter in red foil pots, twinkle lights glow from the base of the trunk of a large plant in the corner. The familiar tune of Deck the Halls follows the red nose reindeer. Fa, lala, lalaaa, sings one of the receptionists to the other with deep throated sarcasm.
Sometimes joy becomes like nails on a chalkboard when your heart isn’t ready for it.
The only other soul in the waiting room sits on a couch across the room, facing me. He lifts sleepy lids underneath his glasses when the front door jolts open, and cold air curls around my ankles with it. Fleece covered arms tighten around his chest as he dazes long at the stranger who interrupted his nap, now writing a check at the counter. He will bring His goodness and Light . . . it bellows through the speakers.
“Mrs. Miller, have you seen that?” I hear someone ask, startling me from a journaling trance. I haven’t heard my name spoken like that in weeks, maybe months.
“No, what is it?” I ask.
“The plus-size Barbie, have you seen that?” she repeats a sentence from their conversation, background mumbling for Christmas carols. “I guess they are telling little girls its okay to be fat.” Squeezing her eyes together in a curious squint, she wears a smile like the crumpled blue line on your child’s notebook paper, awaiting the right answer.
“Perhaps it’s an attempt by a toymaker to send a message, Imperfection is beautiful,” I reply without thinking about it too much.
“Well, that would be the more proper way to say it,” she says while rolling her chair closer to her keyboard.
I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in your dreams swoons over the new quietness as the visitor pulls the door closed behind him. The sucking sound of air from dental instruments and running water break the stillness. I wonder about the words of that chorus.
Startled by the sound of his name in the middle of a dream sequence, Joseph is interrupted by a chorus of words spoken by an angel that started the story of Christmas. Words that change his life and ours for eternity. (Matthew 1:20)
Sometimes the names we choose for ourselves – not enough, ugly, plus-size, unworthy, unlovable, incapable – ring more familiar than the name Jesus gives us.
And you get a brand-new name straight from the mouth of God. You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand, a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God. No more will anyone call you Rejected. (Isaiah 62)
In the beginning, when God created, he said, “It is good.” Not “It is okay,” or “It’ll do.” He sees all He creates and calls it good. He approves of who you are wholeheartedly, without reservation.
In the midst of your mundane, messy, miscalculated life He names you. Through the familiar chorus of Christmas carols filling up your waiting room; in the sound of your name being called by a stranger. Like a dream interrupted by laughter and midnight kisses, your life will be changed by Love calling for you.
He is with you always, even when you aren’t aware of it. And that is worth celebrating.
Happy New Year!!
Linking with Emily, Jennifer, Lyli.
Shelly, THANK YOU for these beautiful words. This was so appropriate for today as today I began my goal of reading through the Bible this year and the words “It is good” have been on my mind. Actually something I thought I’d right about eventually. “He sees all He creates and calls it good.” Amen! I really need to remember this. I pray we all remember this. Happy New Year sweet friend. You are a blessing.
I’m seeing lots of people reading through the Bible this year and I love that. So much to ponder as we start a clean slate isn’t there? I hope you had a good Christmas, that you weren’t too lonely or heart sick over your husband missing at your table this year. I thought of you several times. Let’s keep in touch. Let me know how I can pray for you.
Shelly, I am so grateful that you penned these words! So funny that you went back to the words spoken by God at creation, “It is good” as I did as well in the post I shared this morning. I love when God confirms His Word to me in this manner. May our lives flourish & grow in Him in 2014!
Oh how I love sacred echoes. Yay! Glad you stopped by for one. Happy New Year.
I’m so thankful that He names on purpose… with purpose… with identity wrapped up in letters and sounds! And I’m so grateful that He offers us new… that always He speaks Life over us and calls us His Beloved!
Yes, you say it well Karrilee. May we name ourselves with the words He chooses for us and cast aside the ones that are not meant to be ours for the taking.
Thankful for the new name Jesus gives me- FORGIVEN. Thanks for your words today Shelly.
Love that Sharon. Yes and amen. Praying this year holds lots of joyful abandon for you friend.
So true and so easily forgotten. Thanks for the reminder.
I’ll probably have to re-read my own words a few times Natalie, if I’m honest.
“Mrs. Miller” thanks so much for this truth you packaged up for us in the midst of the mundane, during the time of waiting. We honor the sacrifice of the cross when we live in eternity even as we ward off tooth decay! If we sit with these truths, we will be transformed. So good. So very good.
I got MY teeth cleaned today . . .but that’s another story. (Sorry I’m so late in replying to your comment.) Love you much.
“He approves.” What wonderful words to read today! Lord, give me faith to believe them.
I was right there in the waiting room with you, Shelly. Loved this!
Thanks for linking up with Thought-Provoking Thursday.
Glad you are hosting the link up Lyli, enjoying the community.
Beloved- His name for me.
So loved this post Shelly.
Such a good reminder.
I love that Lori. H brought back a necklace for me from Israel that is the symbol for that word. I always think of it when I hear the word spoken. And it reminds me of the truth.
Lovely thoughts strung together to greet the new year. Thank you! And happy new year!
Happy New Year to you Tricia. Glad you stopped by and let me know it.