My favourite Christmas concerts are the ones put on by children. They have several things in common with the first Christmas – music, drama, God, and the element of surprise! You never know quite what to expect at a children’s performance. I think the mistakes in the program provide some of the most memorable moments.
The Christmas I was six years old, I was given a major role in the school concert. I was to recite T’was the Night Before Christmas. My mother helped me memorize the poem. By the day of the concert I had it word perfect. That is, until I stepped up on the stage in front of an audience!
Part way through, I forgot my next line. I paused and then started again, unaware that I was repeating a previous line. Suddenly my three-year-old brother yelled out from the audience, “You already said that part!” My mother was embarrassed at his outburst, I was embarrassed by my mistake and my little brother stole the show!
Now I can look back and realize that mistakes actually help teach us the real meaning of Christmas. They allow us to see that true joy comes from being loved by God, no matter how many mistakes we make. That’s what God’s love was telling us more than 2,000 years ago with the arrival of Jesus. He’s still telling us that today.
His love is there when we follow the script and when we get mixed up. He’s there cheering us on, just like the loving parents watching their children in the concerts. When we make a mistake, he picks us up and encourages us to try again. He delights in our enthusiasm and rejoices with us in our accomplishments. His unconditional love always meets us exactly where we are.
Not only at Christmas but throughout the year, I want to be like a little child, basking in the love of my Heavenly Father.
For many, the handwritten note or letter is a thing of the past. Why would we take the time to sit down with pen and paper when it’s much quicker to log onto the computer?
However, I enjoy giving handwritten notes of encouragement and support. The feedback I receive tells me the personal touch is appreciated.
Mistakes made with ink on paper are not easily erased and corrections made on the page can look messy. In these cases, I turn to a solution made popular in the last century!
It is called whiteout. The fluid comes in a small bottle with a brush and all I have to do is cover over the error with the liquid and wait for a few seconds for it to dry. Then I can carry on as if the mistake never happened.
That might be the idea but often I either apply either too little, leaving the mistake to show through, or too much, leaving a bumpy surface that’s difficult to write on. This magic eraser also comes in a tape form which I have never been able to master. The result is my mistakes don’t always disappear as I’d like them to.
I know of something that completely blots out the big mistakes in my life. It leaves me fresh and clean and able to start over again. What is this magic formula? It is called forgiveness of my sins. I don’t have to shop for this in the store or wonder how to apply it properly. All I need is to sincerely come to God in prayer, confess my sins, and repent. God promises to forgive and give me a fresh start. I can think of no better way to get rid of my mistakes.
God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong, (1 John 1:9 GWT)
Time had slipped away and now I was in a rush to get to work. I quickly gathered my lunch and threw it in my tote bag before heading out the door.
Travelling a familiar route, I followed another vehicle without paying much attention to my surroundings.
Suddenly I became aware of being in a playground zone. The car in front had not decelerated and I was blindly following. My brakes were quickly applied as I slowed to the required speed. No flashing lights were behind me so the only penalty was self- imposed. I resolved to slow down and be more mindful of my actions.
After arriving at work I reached into my bag to remove my lunch and realized my water bottle had tipped onto my sandwich, crushing it. That’s what happens when I don’t take the time to place things properly in the bag, I thought. Little did I know things were about to get worse!
It seems in my haste to get out of the house, I hadn’t fastened the top of my water bottle properly. A squished sandwich was the least of my worries as I rescued my belongings from the now soggy bottom of the bag.
While drying the bag and its contents I thought about the lessons I’d just been given. Each instance occurred because I was in a hurry. If I had only slowed down and paid proper attention to what I was doing, none of this would have happened. The faster I tried to go, the more recovery had to be done later. In the future, I need to remember that I actually have more time when I don’t rush.
“Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed at how much more life she had time for.” Unknown
This week we have the pleasure of attending school Christmas concerts for grandchildren. I can hardly wait!
I view these concerts as having several things in common with the first Christmas: music, drama, God and the element of surprise. You never know quite what to expect at a children’s performance. I sometimes think the audience actually looks forward to the mistakes in the program!
Some children are blissfully unaware of mistakes they make. They are happy being on stage and waving to parents in the audience. A few are embarrassed if everything doesn’t go exactly as planned. Either way, their parents look on proudly.
When I was six or seven I had a major role in a school concert. I was to recite T’was the Night Before Christmas. My mother helped me to memorize it and by the day of the concert I had it word perfect. Once on stage, I got nervous and part way through forgot the next line. After pausing to think about it, I started again, not realizing I was repeating a few lines. My little brother called out from the audience, “You already said that part.”
I was embarrassed at my mistake and my little brother stole the show! It was his outburst and not my performance that was remembered.
These mistakes are what provide the most memorable moments. They also teach us the real meaning of Christmas; that true joy comes from being loved by God, no matter how many mistakes we make. That’s what God was telling us more than 2,000 years ago. He’s still telling us that today. His love is there where we follow the script and when we get mixed up. He is there cheering us on, just like the loving parents watching their children in the concerts.
Not only at Christmas but throughout the year, let’s be like little children, basking in the love of our Heavenly Father.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)
Late in the afternoon I decided to make a zucchini chocolate cake for dessert.
I grated the zucchini, put it aside and combined the dry ingredients. Pulling out the mixer I beat butter, sugar and eggs. The dry ingredients needed to be added alternately with milk, so I quickly measured the liquid.
One eye was on the clock because I wanted this to be ready by dinner time. Half the flour mixture was added. While this was blending I greased the bundt pan. Returning to the mixer I added the remaining dry ingredients. I wondered why the mixture was so dry. Then I saw the grated zucchini still waiting to be added. It should have been added before the dry ingredients. I hoped this wouldn’t impact the results.
My husband entered the kitchen as I was pouring the batter into the pan. I placed it in the oven and he pointed to a measuring cup on the other end of the counter and asked, “Was this milk supposed to go in the cake?” Quickly I retrieved the cake from the oven, scraped it out of the pan and back into the mixing bowl. The milk was blended in, the cake pan washed and greased and once again the cake was in the oven.
I was upset with myself for the foolish mistakes I’d made. If I’d been paying attention rather than rushing everything would have gone smoother. All I could do now was hope for the best.
Much to my relief the end result was delicious. I admired this miracle cake that was a success despite the challenges.
If a delicate cake can endure these difficulties and still end up with the desired results, there’s hope for me! God can take my errors, oversights and last minute decisions and work them together for his good. He is in the business of performing miracles. In his hands I know everything will turn out just the way he planned.
We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God – those whom he has called according to his plan. (Romans 8:28 GWT)
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. (Job 5:9 NIV)