Ew! Did You Just Should All Over??

Ding Dong!!  The sound of the doorbell resonates through the hall. The door reluctantly opens once more to reveal little ghouls and superheroes. “Trick or treat!” their high itched vibrato screech through the cool evening air. Expectantly, they hold out their buckets and baskets awaiting what treasures lay in store for them. Plop, plop, plop. Sugary goodness adds its weight to their burden. They turn and trot away.

Wait a minute. No ‘thank you’? Not even a ‘thanks’? No acknowledgement whatsoever of the sacrifice made to purchase the candy, of sitting here waiting when there are so many more pressing issues at hand, or of doling out treats unceasingly to these most ungrateful little snots.

The door shuts behind them. The light cuts off.

What’s wrong with people? Since when did a little common courtesy become replaced by an expectation? Since when did manners become a thing eradicated by entitlement? And so it begins. Children at a young age are rarely taught to be grateful nor to show thanks. In a world where material possessions are so easily acquired, and “bigger and better” bombards their minds, why should there by any thanks for something that will so quickly be replaced? The expectation is not that a kindness should be acknowledged, but that a kindness SHOULD just happen. Kids are should-ing all over themselves. Mom should do this… Dad should do that… Teachers should do for me… The World should….

But the World doesn’t. Mom may for some time. Dad might for a while. Teachers will for a short while. But the World…. well, that’s a different matter entirely.

Common courtesy isn’t so common any more. Matter of fact, it’s become such a rarity that its acknowledgement is usually given in an air of surprise rather than gratitude.

Hold the door open? Nah, I’m in a hurry.

Return the cart to the corral? Ugh, it’s too far away. Someone gets paid for that.

Tip 20%? Puh-lease. All she did is set down food.

Say ma’am or sir? Excuse me, but it’s not the Dark Ages.

Smile at someone? Uh, creepy.

But it’s almost Christmas, so many of those SHOULDers will put on their annual 4-week long air of gratitude and courtesy (maybe even ring a bell to help those in need) but return to their selfish little ways as soon as the clock hits December 26th.

Rather than wait until Christmastime to become aware of Gratefulness (who is anxiously awaiting some acknowledgement) and Common Courtesy (who rings her hands in dismay at being forgotten) maybe we ought remember them during Halloween and allow them a little longer time to shine in the spotlight.

Trick or Treat?

She Knew

Her heart flutters as doubt fills her brain. Reeling from news and import of her calling, she kneels on the dirt floor. Her hands… they grip her knees, willing herself to understand what she was about to embark upon. A child. Not just a child. THE child. THE Messiah. THE one she had hoped for. And SHE was the chosen one. Tears trickle down her cheeks. Unclenching her knee, she places a hand upon her taught, smooth abdomen. Laughter erupts from her, from deep within her soul. A song emerges from her depths and plays itself on her lips….

Just imagine. Imagine being a 15 year old girl, newly engaged to a man… planning a wedding, a life, and dreaming of what would be. Then it all swirls into oblivion in a matter of moments. An angel arrives at the door, invites himself in, and interjects “Hello, favored one!” He then informs Mary that she is not only favored, but that God has chosen her to have His son, the Messiah, the Savior. Imagine the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions that must have danced and warred within her consciousness. Mary was a learned woman. She knew the scriptures. She knew what the Messiah was… a deliverer, a savior, a redeemer. She knew the prophecies of his life. She knew God in a way that caused Him to choose her. She knew.

Mary had attended meetings in the synagogue where the leaders had read the prophecies of the Messiah. She knew he would be spat on and struck, disfigured by extreme suffering, widely rejected by all people, and die despite his unfailing willingness to carry the transgressions of all of humanity. She knew.

She knew all of this, and yet she chose to say yes. “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be as you have said.” Did Jesus suffer and die for our sins? Most assuredly. Did Mary also suffer for our sins? Yes, and just as willingly as Christ did.

The only other power greater than a mother’s love is that of Christ’s love for us. I cannot comprehend the anguish Mary must have felt as she gazed into the brown eyes of her first born son knowing that he must suffer as he would. That as she welcomed him into this world, the joy she felt in holding him was shrouded in grief, knowing her time with him to be limited. Watching him grow strong and tall, lean and muscular, knowing that his life was not to be like that of his brothers. Knowing that he wasn’t hers at all. Despite it all, she knew, and she was willing. Just as her son knew what was to come, and yet He also was willing.

Because she knew something else… that despite the agony she felt in those three days’ time, she would once again wrap her arms around her son. The anguish of waiting, fighting against those inevitable doubts, the endless war between grief and anticipation… she knew it would end. She knew he would come back to her. That she would embrace her child whom she adored on levels no other mother could understand. She knew, just as she had always known. And that is why she was willing.