ok, i have to ask...i wonder if you think like i do? for your sake, i'd hope not. but, i am curious, if, like me....do you have a list of things that you wish you could do, but you can't? i do. fortunately, it is fairly short list, but i do have one.
i wish i could play the piano well.
i wish i could speak fluent spanish.
for as long as i can remember in my adult life, i have wished i could do these two things. i'm weird, aren't i? but, it's true. i sit and marvel when someone, who looks fairly normal on the outside, then sits down and blows your mind when they begin to play the piano in beautiful fluidity. to me, that looks SO hard...so intimidating...so in need of a skilled person. i am not a skilled person. well, at least, not in that way. and, since i'm all about outright honesty, i can admit fully to the fact that i can trace the reason that i do not currently know how to play the piano to two things: first of all, my left hand is good for nothing. (neither is my left foot, for that matter) don't believe me? ask any of my former coaches who constantly tried to get me to shoot left-handed lay-ups, or score a goal from anywhere besides the far right side of the soccer field. "right hand dominant" doesn't begin to describe it. but, the main reason i can't play the piano is more simple that that. friend, i am just....lazy. more on this in a minute...
i also really want to be able to speak spanish. this one even surpasses my desire to tickle the ivories with style. i can trace this desire back to middle school maybe, when my spanish teacher walked in the room, looking as completely caucasian as can be, and began to speak to us in beautiful and fluent spanish like she'd been doing it for years. i was blown away. she didn't look anything but white anglo saxon protestant, yet there she was able to speak in a whole 'nother language. whoa. so, that began my best friend, lindsay, and i with our past time of "faking it". funny plan, really. as years went by and lindsay and i moved on from the required two years of spanish, knowing not a whole lot more than our typical colors...we didn't want to move on from our "second" language. so sometimes, when we were feeling silly (which was most of the time), we would sit and wait for someone we didn't know to walk by and then we would start speaking in "our" spanish. let me demonstrate....
"me llamo carolina, queso es muy sabroso, donde esta el bano, cuidado el piso mojado, hola!"
when you string it all together, it sounds like the beginning to a beautiful and lovely spanish conversation. one that you, too, would want to be a part of, i'm quite sure. however, once translated, instead, you can see that i simply said "my name is caroline, cheese is very tasty, where is the bathroom, be careful wet floor, hello!" nice, huh? yes, well, lindsay and i thought so.
and once again, there are two main reasons why i do not actually speak spanish now. first of all, there really was no room in my schedule once i hit high school and college to actually take more classes. no really, i didn't have room. lots of math classes. lots. but really, once again, full disclosure here.... it is just that i am lazy.
yes we are back to that, i am lazy. if i really stop and think, which i have recently done...i admit to myself that right now, a full 15 years after i first desired to be able to speak spanish or play the piano, would be very cool to do...i have had ample opportunity to learn them both, but i haven't. it is not like i have a desire to walk on the moon, or climb mount everest. ya, that would be tough. these two...my two...are actually attainable. i have just not wanted to put in the time, effort, and energy to make it happen. instead i have spent the last 15 years admiring other people who can speak spanish or play the piano. and man, if you can do both...i absolutely want to be your best friend.
why in the world am i telling you all of this? well...lately i have been thinking about this time of year. we just finished celebrating the Christmas season. i must be honest and tell you that i am a little tired of "happy holidays". sorry, but i am. i'm over it. i am all about keeping the "Christ" in Christmas. well, this reminded me of how i signed our family Christmas cards this year...Merry CHRISTmas, love team holzberger! i wanted to be clear. bout what the most important part of this holiday was. i think it worked. i've always said that when you look at it that way, you can clearly see what comes first (CHRIST) and the rest of the word, you can see how much of Him we should want..."mas", which in my vast spanish speaking knowledge, i know, means "more". that's it. we need "mas" CHRIST, people.
but, unfortunately, i don't think that people really look at it that way. in fact, i think it is just the opposite in our society nowadays. instead, we are all about celebrating a merry christMAS. we aren't concerned with the first half of the word, just the last half will do, thank you very much. we spend this season wanting/buying/spending/planning "mas". more. more. more. mas. mas. mas. sad, isn't it? well, to me it is. am i immune? no way, jose! i can be seen with more of this and more of that during this time of year. don't believe me? simply ask my dear sweet hubby to see my snowman collection. (but be prepared for him to try and give you some snowmen to take home with you!) talk about "mas".
but, here's the deal, friends. you see...i know that we are a few days after Christmas but, we don't have to lose the spirit. the spirit of this season is a lovely thing. loving "mas". caring "mas". giving "mas". it isn't about us. it is about the Jesus in us. but, the great news is that it isn't at all limited to the month of december. in fact, it is just the opposite. anyone can display this spirit during the time of year that you are "supposed" to. someone cuts you off on the road, you let it slide, after all it's Christmas. you have a spare saturday afternoon to volunteer somewhere, after all it's Christmas. that is expected. but, it takes a lot more discipline, a lot more maturity, a lot more of us choosing to display Jesus and not ourselves to do it in the other 11 months of the year.
so, why then, is it so hard? well, the reason is simple, friend. and it is the same reason behind the fact that i can only play chopsticks and tell you that the rainbow is made up of rojo, anaranjado, amarillo, verde, azul and...um...shoot, i can't even remember purple!
we, my friend are...lazy.
it takes a fair amount of self-discipline to spend time in God's Word every day. it takes even more discipline to speak kind words to everyone we see in our normal day. and it takes almost divine self-discipline to put all other before ourselves at all times. (whew, that does sound tough!) but it is much more attainable that we might think. but, we have to be willing to put in the work. uh-oh, did you say work?
seems to me that sometimes people see "work" as a dirty four letter word. yes, i belong to this group of people. do you?
Jesus was pretty clear about what his mission was. (john 12) He came to serve God and spread His Name and His love and His good news to all people. seems like that is the perfect person to model. i'm no biblical scholar, but i'm quite sure that the following verses don't contain an appedix that states *limited to the month of december.
john 13:35 "by this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
philippians 2:3 "do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."
and this one really gets me...
mark 10:45 "for even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many"
who am i to think that i shouldn't be serving people all twelve months of the year? Jesus, the Word made flesh (john 1:14) came and even He served and served and served. mark 10:45 doesn't end with..."as long as the calendar sayeth december". c'mon friends, that is silly.
why can't we celebrate "mas" of Christ, long after Christmas is over. i think we can. i know we can, actually. but, i know we cannot do it on our own. thankfully we don't have to.
luke 12:12 "for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say."
john 14:26 "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."
romans 5:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
by daily spending time in His Word, being in continuous communication with Him, praying for the Holy Spirit to guide you, putting others before yourself, having a happy heart in all circumstances...this is how we can have "mas" of Christ each and every month of each and every year. is it difficult sometimes? no, it is difficult at all times. we need all the help we can get to live in this sinful world and not blend right in with it. but, i encourage you, friend, as i encourage myself, that each day is a new day...each day is a new opportunity to spread not just the spirit of the season, but the spirit of the REASON behind the season...to everyone in your life, beginning with those who share your last name and the roof over your head! so, merry CHRIST"mas" to you friend, today, and in march and in july...and all year long. but, don't worry...i'm not expecting a Christmas card each month...we gotta draw the line somewhere, eh?
ps. just so you know...that best friend of mine, lindsay...has been a missionary in mexico with her husband and kiddos for the last 8 years. darn her. :) she sounds fantastic with her fluent spanish and i'm left with "cheese is very tasty and where is the bathroom?" oh well. i couldn't be prouder of her and how God is using them! check them out ... www.impactolatino.org (luke and lindsay greer)