Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

A gift to bring

drummerAs a child growing up in a dysfunctional home, I found various things and places to fill the absence of love, to find my happy, to make the world go away.  Television became an escape from the reality of all the yuck.

I especially loved the Christmas shows that came on once a year.  Unlike today where they are readily available, if you missed a show back then, you didn’t get to see it for another year, so you can imagine how upsetting it could be to miss even one.  Seriously, devastating!

I’m happy to see the cartoons of old are still loved by many today.  Most of them have a wonderful message to share, why even the mean ol’ Grinch came around from his grinchiness and  concluded “Maybe Christmas, he thought…doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps…means a little bit more!”  Ummm, ya think?

I’m sure you have your favorite and even those you despise. Of all the Christmas cartoons, growing up and most of my adult life, I have to say The Little Drummer Boy was my least favorite, and yet to fill that void, I would still watch it.  The story always made me cry. Always.  I watched it just recently and sure enough, it made me all weepy.  Doesn’t seem to matter I know what’s going to happen, and even knowing the ending..there I am, grabbing my Kleenex.

The Little Drummer Boy animated claymation version of which I’m referring to first aired on December 19, 1968.

For years I watched this show and it held no significant meaning for me.  It was just a sad stroy, with a fairly happy ending.  To me, it was all about the lamb.  Aaron’s lamb.

In the beginning of the story, the narrator spoke of a decree from Caesar Augustus stating that the world should be taxed.  In order for this to happen, the people would need to travel back to their own land.  Growing up, that type information fell under the subject “History” and quite frankly, I didn’t care for history.

We find in Luke, Chapter 2:1-3 (KJV):

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.”  Means they had to all go back where they came from.

So in Verses 4-6 it states:

 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.”

Now that I have a relationship with God, I think..that’s pretty cool…it’s biblical.  Just in a condensed version.

The story goes on to tell of a little boy who was the son of a Sheppard who loved his life.  From the outside looking in, Aaron had an idyllic childhood. Parents who loved him, roof over his head and presents for his birthday.  On his birthday his father gives him a drum.  And instantly he’s a rock star, plays the drum so well, his animals dance to the beat.

Then one night, bandits decide to attack their home and everything that is near and dear to Aaron is taken from him.  All he has left is his drum and his friends….Samson, his donkey; Joshua, his camel and Baba his lamb. The devastation of this night causes Aaron to hate all people.  Not just those who killed his family….but ALL people.  He is filled with anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness and wants nothing to do with people.  He judges them all alike…through the eyes of hatred.

Next poor Aaron’s just going along and boom he’s being kidnapped by the oh so greedy Ben Haramed and his goofy side kick Ali (ahli).  Haramed wants to use Aaron and his dancing crew to make money so he can pay the taxes that have been levied.  So the band of misfits head into Jerusalem to the town square where they fail miserably with their performances.  Aaron lashes out irrationally at the townspeople because he thinks everyone should be as miserable as he is and the motley crew are run out of town.

So, the little band of misfits retreat and eventually happen upon the Three Wise Men’s caravan. What they fail to notice is the very bright star and its glory in the sky.  Haramed can’t see past his greed and Aaron can’t see past his hatred and anger.  The wise men have no time to be entertained as they need to follow the star and they shoo the misfits away.  However, one of the camels in the King’s caravan is too worn out to complete the journey so Haramed sells Aaron’s beloved camel Joshua to the royal caravan.

Now that Haramed has his beloved gold, he lets Aaron leave.  So off Aaron, Samson and baba go in search of Joshua.  They follow the star as they knew that’s what the wise men were doing and that inevitably leads them to Bethlehem where they see….exactly what they were looking for…the kings’ caravan and Joshua.  In their excitement and haste to get to reunited with Joshua, little baba gets run over by a chariot.

Aaron is heartbroken and he just knows the wisemen can help him because after all, they are Kings.  The wiseman  Aaron approaches, tells him that he cannot help him and indeed his lamb is close to death.  Aaron responds “but you are a king.” To which the king says, he is a king, but a mortal king.  He tells Aaron to go to the babe to which Aaron replies, “I have no gift to bring.”  But, he tenderly lays baba down and he approaches the babe lying in the manager.

As he fixes his eyes on the newborn, Aaron is caught up in the beauty of this baby and since he has nothing of material value to place before the babe, he picks up his drum and he plays for him.

In that moment, Aaron is playing only for the baby Jesus.  He is giving the gift of his drum playing back to the one who gave him the gift in the first place.  So you see, he did have a gift to bring.  He didn’t have to wrap in up in paper and bows and make it all sparkly and pretty.  He went just as he was.  Heartbroken and full of hate.

But as he played for Jesus and his focus was on worshipping Jesus through his drum playing instead of his problems what happened?  God saw Aaron’s act of “simple desperation stemmed out of pure love” and He healed baba.  Aaron’s heart is filled with love and his spirit with joy. He was then convicted of his hatred and knew it was wrong…the narrator said so.

I guess the simple lesson learned here is that we all have a gift to bring.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, it doesn’t have to be big or showy, it just needs to come from the heart.  Jesus has everything.  Everything that He’s given us was well thought out and to be used for the glory and honor of His Kingdom.  He’s placed different gifts in each of us…how we use them is our gift back to Him.  I’ll end with the verse the show used…”Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”  Matthew 5:8

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Life Interrupted

JoyoftheLord

Being new in my faith, I can’t say as I always “get” what God is trying to tell me.  I can read His Word and listen to Worship music, tap my feet and sing till someone tells me to stop because I’m told, someone else is on the radio for a reason. I can go out into the world, smile at people and say a friendly hello, come home and plop back into my comfortable life.  Those are all very good things, but there’s something that God didn’t see from me.  So, what started out as a subtle Fatherly nudge, over the course of a few months, suddenly became my life interrupted.

For years I’ve lived my life day by day in a state of what I would call, dutiful.  I know what it means to be a dutiful child, a dutiful mother, a dutiful friend, and well, you get the picture.  But there was no real joy in all of this duty.  Somewhere along the road of life and all it entails, I can say I truly lost my joy.  I love to help people, and you would think that would bring me great joy.  But, it didn’t.  I love to give, and you would think that would bring me great joy.  But, it didn’t.  I love to make people laugh, and you would think that would bring me great joy.  But, it didn’t.  I love to receive (just keeping it real), and you would think that would bring me great joy.  But it didn’t.  I asked Christ to come into my life and I got baptized and you would think that would bring me great joy.  But, it didn’t.  Now don’t get me wrong, best decision of my life was to give my life over to the Lord, but that didn’t mean I took a magic pill and I was instantly transformed.  Took me years to get to where I am, and I gave God a lot to transform.

All around me now are Biblical verses and messages of joy, and love, and joy, and love, and joy and love; have been for quite some time actually.  This is where God’s nudges have turned into…umm, hello, will you let Me not just talk, but will you listen and obey?  Of course God, but, I’m still not sure what you mean, I’m doing what you’re telling me.  I’m loving on people and I’ve got my smile on, so why the same messages?  Did you just hear God sigh? I think He may have just sighed.

Deep down, way deep down, there was this child, who never got to be a child.  Life became very serious, very early on.  Life was chaotic, emotionally and mentally destructive and painful. In order to survive, she shut herself down and started to live life dutifully. Everything was done out of this sense of duty instead of joyfully.  So it should come as no real surprise for her to understand that God didn’t want this for her…God didn’t want this for me. I took joy and shoved it under the weight of many blankets and I carried out my life dutifully.  In doing so, I left myself wide open to all kinds of spiritual warfare.  I needed my life interrupted so I could get my joy back.  But first, I needed to understand a little bit more about joy.

In all of my Bible teachings no where have I read that life is meant to be lived dutifully.  In my pea brain, this is how I got it worked out.  First off, I had to understand this is not a circumstantial emotion. Regardless of our circumstances we are to do everything with joy.  Roll my eyes, yea, blah, blah, blah.  No disrespect meant here.  My structured logical brain got it.  My emotional brain was still saying….huh?  Okay, so let’s try it from this perspective.

If I don’t have joy knowing God is in control and that He works everything out for my good, then when life beats me up, what will happen? I’ll lose my joy, feel defeated and now the enemy can come creepy crawling in and fill my head with lies.  That’s why God says to “rejoice” always, not sometimes, not just when I feel like it, but always.  If I’m busy re-joy-cing, no matter the circumstance, the enemy can’t come in and turn me into a dutiful, depressed, the life has been sucked out of me zombie.  Joy doesn’t have to be complicated.  Simply put, I have joy because I have God.  So that’s where they joy comes from, it’s a gift from God.  He gives it, and all I need do is receive it.

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