I Am the Manger

As the hostess for our sisters’ weekend, I splurged at the party store—a ten-buck balloon to adorn the mailbox for a more festive “WELCOME!” than my intended  “TURN HERE.”  Since I had invested so much in the Mylar exclamation, I meticulously wound the red ribbon ‘round and ‘round and ‘round my wrist for extra security.  

However, a mischievous wind caught the helium-filled orb as soon as I opened the door, jerking it hither and yon like a hooked trout. I quickly reeled in to catch the bottom plastic tab for a more secure hold.  Reaching the truck, I released the tab in order to get the keys from my purse.  As I opened the door, the red string suddenly fell limply to my shoes.  Confused, I picked up what had been the top of the tethering line.  My heart started pounding as I quickly looked up.  There! I saw my sister’s shining “Welcome!” flying away to heights unknown.

“How did I lose that balloon?” I wondered, staring at what had been the business end of the ribbon, the remainder still wrapped around my wrist—now just string theory fashion.  All my strategies, all my plans, all my investment—who gets the blame?

Silly, I know.  Yet, I tell this story knowing there are many others with disappearing balloons and sagging string and gazing eyes toward heaven, pondering the more important question: Will a video of this fiasco go viral with #womanlosesit? 

Honestly, I most often derive my worth from the glaring evidence of lost balloons; literally and metaphorically I have no gift to bring to lay before the King, pa-rum-pa-pum-pum.  At the stable in Bethlehem I stand empty, barren—a woman come undone.

YET, somehow I start to wonder: What if, in the holy night, God cares not about what I bring?  What if it is about what I am willing to be?

Ann Voscamp vociferously declares this inexplicable truth in The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life:

I am not the mistakes I have made; I am the righteousness He has made. I am not the plans I have failed; I am the perfectness He has finished. I am not the wrongs I have done; I am the faultlessness He has been. I am not the sins I have chosen; I am chosen by the Beloved, regardless of my sins. In Christ, I am chosen, accepted, justified, anointed, sealed, forgiven, redeemed, complete, free, Christ’s friend, God’s child, Spirit’s home. (p. 193, Kindle edition)

I AM THE MANGER--shrouded in darkness and encrusted with dirt.  
I AM THE MANGER--a yawning, empty space, void of majesty or glory, obscure and destined for decay.  Until one Night, until one Moment, until one Baby, until one divine Plan, when the darkness becomes Light, when a stable becomes a nursery, when a manger becomes a cradle to hold the Hope of all people. 

I AM THE MANGER—my heart is God’s dwelling place, His light streams through all the cracks and brokenness.

#womanonfire #cuttheribbons #iamthemanger

Pa-rum-pa-pa-pum, rum-pa-pa-pum, ra-pa-pa-pummmm