The Tipping Point of Christmas

It’s Christmas time and I know I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed. This time of the year there is pressure on our finances, getting gifts, going to parties, buying outfits for those parties, sending cards, preparing food, meeting with family and all our routine responsibilities on top of it all. These layers of duties make me think of recently putting up and decorating our Christmas tree. As you may know with fake trees, there are layers to assemble, and then at the top, the tree comes to the highest point where one may place a star or angel. On the top of our tree, we have a star and it kind of fits, but it IMG_2971seems to lean to one side and will suddenly tip over.

When I feel overwhelmed, I feel like I am going to tip over. It’s like how Malcolm Gladwell talks about how things usually don’t gradually tip, but things suddenly tip. Malcolm says in his book The Tipping Point, “Most people think that life is full of steady progressions. However, in fact, many of the most important events in life happen suddenly and unexpectedly, so that there’s no way to predict them in advance.” Waves of emotion can happen this way, for instance, the stress of the holidays just creep up, and all of a sudden you have been tipped over and caught off guard!

Similarly, I remember feeling this way when I was pregnant like I was going to tip over. When you are pregnant, you have to balance all this extra weight, and there is a lot of additional pain and pressure. I am sure Mary felt this way too. Not only the weight of the baby inside her but the weight of responsibility, of carrying the son of God. I could not imagine that pressure.

Thinking of all this and trying to put things into perspective I ended up thinking about the positive tipping point! In fact, I heard a message from Sarah Bowling about what Mary said when she found out she was pregnant with Jesus. In Luke 1:46-47 Mary said, “My soul magnifies and exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Although I am confident she was feeling pressure, she still magnified the LORD, and the world’s greatest miracle came to earth.

Today I am choosing to think of all the memories and miracles which are about to come. In fact, the miraculous tipping point is just moments away; we will experience the joy of all our hard work. Soon it will all be done – the shopping, the food, the giving, and gathering will all occur. Then we will rest and take delight in the joy that will radiate off our children’s faces as they open their gifts. We will embrace one another. We may light a candle and pass it to someone next to us until a whole room is lit up. All this will happen so fast. It will be a tipping point, and then we will wait for the season to come again. So push aside the stress and the worry and anticipate the joy that will unexpectedly surprise your soul. Look forward to the tipping point and tell your soul to magnify and exalt the LORD.

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A Hug Can Change Everything

When my youngest was just a baby, and my oldest was in preschool, we were just at the beginning stages of figuring out what it means to be a fragile medical family. I was working part-time, trying to help with medical bills while the kids were in a program called Mother’s Day Out.

I loved Mother’s Day Out. In fact, one day I came to pick up the kids, and the preschool teacher said something about it being book day. As she described the day, she handed me the book, “Hug.” I quickly said, “I can’t pay for this!” She replied, “No, it’s a gift.” I started to cry: First, because I couldn’t even afford a simple paperback book and second, the kindness of teacher Sachi blew me away.IMG_4680

The other week while picking up our weekly Costco pizza, I stopped by the book aisle and lo and behold I saw the book “Hug.” Since “Hug” changed my life in so many ways, I had to pass “Hug” along.

You see, “Hug” was given to us at one of our lowest points, at least the start of our lowest points. I never imagined not having enough money for a small paperback book. I also never planned “to not plan” to get my kid a book, on book day. This just wouldn’t be! However, it was our reality.

Teacher Sachi changed and saved the day by giving “Hug” to my oldest son. She also hugged me while tears rolled down my face. “Hug” was a tremendous gift to our family. It was one of the biggest hugs we ever received.

You never know what may change someone’s life; a small paperback book named “Hug” changed mine.