by Emily Conrad
Christmas was on a Monday this year, and when I woke to it, I have to say, that’s how it felt—like a Monday. My throat scratched with the hint of a pending cold. I was tired, though I’d just woken, and I had a lot to do. Hello, Monday.
On Christmas Eve, my parents gave me a present for each of our dogs. We brought them home wrapped because it’s fun to watch Luther and Sadie tear through the paper and pull out the toy. Luther, our spunky hound, behaved as expected, happily ripping out his toy.
Sadie, however, who doesn’t like to get in trouble—and will even act guilty when we’re about to catch Luther being naughty—wouldn’t take her package from me. She knew the other gifts under our tree weren’t for her, and she didn’t trust that she could sink her teeth into this one.
She sniffed the package and wagged her tail. She agreed with me that it was a good idea, but she wouldn’t pull out the toy. I loosened the paper so she could fit her nose in, but she wouldn’t wiggle her little black nose inside. I tugged a corner of the toy from the package. Once she could see it, she pulled the out the toy and trotted away happily. Until then, she didn’t believe me that the gift was for her.
Perhaps you could fault me for confusing my dogs by not letting them open the gifts under the tree then giving them one. It could be confusing, I know. However, I happen to believe they can smell the difference between their gifts and our gifts because one year, they zeroed in on their gifts when we weren’t looking and unwrapped only those at my parents’ house. For this reason, now that we have our own tree, I don’t put their gifts under it. I keep them out of reach until I’m ready to give them.
On that first Christmas, God’s gift to us came with everything good that is out of our reach without Jesus: peace, joy, salvation. God has also given us gifts like family, friends, callings, rest.
But sometimes we think about what we don’t have, what we haven’t been given, and then we look at the gift before us and figure that’s probably not ours, either. Sure, we agree with God that it would be a great idea, but we hesitate to enjoy it. We keep family or friends at arms’ length, we procrastinate to do work we’re passionate about in the name of obligation to other duties, we spend all our time scrambling and don’t recharge. We’re too well behaved to sink our teeth into the gift.
It’s Monday, after all, and all of that peace, joy, and abundant life sounds a little too good to be true.
Except that Christmas is about Immanuel, a God who is with us and giving good gifts, even on a Monday.
Perhaps especially on a Monday.
Wasn’t that first Christmas set up to be a day like any other? The Jews had been waiting and waiting and waiting for a Messiah. Hadn’t life for most of them become routine? Don’t you feel the drudgery when you read about the census and Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem to be counted with the house of David?
So maybe that first Christmas interrupted a pretty normal Monday, too. Up until labor began and angels flooded the sky, there were full inns and a census and accommodations in the stable—which sounds like a worse Monday than I’ve ever experienced.
And then God interrupts the drudgery with the greatest gift in history—God with us. Immanuel is still with us today, offering gifts to interrupt our drudgery. He’s taken the gifts of peace and joy and light and life off the high shelf and He extends them to us.
Some days—some Christmases, even—feel like Mondays, but regardless of the day, God has piled up the gifts in front of us. No matter what the calendar says or how we feel, we can spend each day unwrapping the good, good gifts He offers us, chief of which is a relationship with Him.
Let’s take those gifts, tear in, and enjoy like we were meant to. Let’s never be too well behaved—too committed to the drudgery of Mondays—to accept what He offers.
Daily, let’s remind ourselves of what He’s given us, the peace and the rest and the joy, by spending time with Him. When Mondays threaten to take over, let’s recite Scripture to ourselves, speaking His words into our lives so that we can live with hope and anticipation.
Jesus came that we would have life and have it abundantly, not only on weekends or special occasions, but every day. Even on Mondays.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.” John 10:10, NET