Remembering who is in charge

Sallie Satterthwaite's picture

A Stone Soup cartoon saved from several years ago:

Two women at the water fountain, co-workers, bemoaning how much there is to do at Christmas: decorating, shopping, wrapping, writing cards, baking cookies, all the social events and children’s pageants.

A suave young colleague saunters by with his coffee cup and says: “Relax, ladies. I find that all these things somehow get done.”

The women glare at his receding back, then one remarks to the other, “He still lives with his Mommy, you know.”

After many, many years of twisting my hands in angst, beginning in October, weighed down by lists of tasks undone, my Christmas seasons were a nightmare – until about the third week of December, when suddenly things begin falling into place. And what is not falling into place doesn’t really matter.

From one year to the next I’d have to remind myself that my efforts will neither sink nor save Christmas. Here it comes, ready or not.

Trouble is, I think I became complacent. We are now less than a week from Christmas and I have not yet found what I want for Jean and family in Virginia, nor for Dave. Because of time constraints, Mary’s gifts went out to Germany in mid-November. But we’re hoping to drive to Virginia and that means we can stop along the way for a few items. Plus there are no shipping costs that way.

I guess I got cocky. Two weeks ago, I was so on top of things – and then came down with a bug of some kind and took to my bed. It was the worst possible two weeks in the year, leading up to Christmas!

Jean called Friday and made the soothing sounds daughters make when they’re 700 miles away and can’t come in and fluff my pillow. I bewailed the fact that I had not even sent out Christmas cards – a ritual we’ve maintained because so many of the people we love live so far away.

“So don’t,” Jean says.

“Don’t? We’ve always.”

“Yes, but Christmas doesn’t happen because you send Christmas cards. Just don’t and get off a newsletter later on.”

“What about our coming up there for Christmas?”

“We’ll miss you, but you might enjoy us better from a distance. We’ll have a good time either way, and you can catch up with us next spring. I hate to tell you, Mom, but Christmas doesn’t depend on you, after all,” she said.

That smarted. But I’ve been thinking about what she said. I’ve saved a clipping in my date-book, waiting for a good time to use it, and this might be it.

It appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution several years ago. All I saved was the lead paragraph. I sure wish I’d kept the rest of the piece, although it’s fun to speculate why this resolution was proposed in the first place.


“More than 100 people gathered shoulder-to-shoulder at Kennesaw’s City Hall to cheer on their City Council as it passed a resolution supporting God.”

Don’t you just know God was encouraged? Assuming this was the first such endorsement, how on earth did God manage before? (Or should I say “How in heaven?”)

I’m waxing facetious, of course. The thing we need to keep in mind these last few days of comfort and joy is that this is God’s party and we the guests. This is the celebration of grace come to earth, and nothing we do will change that.

Go to your family with hands full of nothing but love, they’ll love you just the same. Write your Christmas letters in January, your news won’t be that far out of date. And when you are tempted to take over God’s position in the universe, remember who created the universe itself and is eternally in charge.

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