Nothing beats coming home to a clean house, except coming home to a house someone else cleaned. Yep, that's right. The young lady I hired to feed Jellybean and Buckley and keep them from chewing through the door and going feral did some tidying. The first inkling came yesterday when I opened the door to two red roses in a little vase. How thoughtful!
Then, my foggy brain detected surfaces. Clean surfaces. The miscellany that had found a home on my kitchen table had been arranged in a basket. So, how awesome is that?
And then I went to bed on crisp, clean sheets.
It didn't stop there. Today when I started washing the travel off my clothes, I realized the jeans I'd left on the drying rack weren't there. They'd been folded and put on their shelf above all the shoes that, instead of forming a multicolored heap, now sit in neat rows on the shoe rack.
I was so grateful that she'd agreed to care for the boys, I would have been happy just for that. But no, she went above and beyond and did something special that made me feel welcomed home and cozy.
Generosity takes many forms. Doing favors, giving kind words, offering gifts. In this Christmas season, I am more aware of that than normal, and it makes me so thankful for a God whose hallmark is generosity.
I think of Mary, a young lady, newly wed and carrying a baby long before prenatal vitamins, ultrasounds, baby bjorns, and little knit caps in pink and blue. In her day, just delivering a baby and having both mother and child healthy was a huge blessing. God never promised her she would raise the Savior, just that she would carry him. When they couldn't find a room--which I'm certain she prayed for between contractions, and Joseph between knuckle cracking hand squeezes as he held her steady on the donkey--things probably looked bleak. But they both made it through the experience with no midwife to coach.
And God wasn't done. He sent angels, a whole heaven's worth, to sing over the countryside the joy and wonder of what had just happened. The Prince of Peace on earth. King of kings, born for mankind.
And God wasn't done. He sent shepherds, the least likely people ever to revel in a new baby, to slap Joseph's back and gaze in wonder and worship on the tiny boy Mary held close.
And God wasn't done. When they took their little son to the temple to present him to the Lord, Old Man Simeon, who in a time of relative quiet heard from God, lifted their child and praised Him. He saw not just a baby, but a revelation of God for all men. And Mary, as tired and tentative as any new mom, marveled again that, yes, she carried near her heart the Son of God.
And God wasn't done. He made a new star appear. A special, brilliant star. It shone so spectacularly that it fascinated the top scholars--the MIT profs of their day, if MIT were in the far East--so intensely that they left their cushy pagodas and awestruck acolytes to pursue this heavenly being. They knew it meant something profound and unique along the timeline of Earth.
And when they finally decided they were under it, they were directly above a humble carpenter's home. I bet when his young wife and her toddler answered the door and they told her of their three-year quest they might have felt silly. They had a quest and the answer...well, it wasn't where they'd expected it.
But then Mary teared up and lifted her little son, telling them who he was, so glad to finally talk to people who would hear and believe, who she could share her pondered memories with. Keeping the world's biggest secret...it must have felt like exhaling after three years under water. And they not only believed her, they offered grand and kingly gifts they'd just known would be a good idea and were worth hauling all the way from home.
Yes, God is generous. Thank you, Lord, that even when you ask for everything, it is only because my everything is too small and you have a greater definition of that word to show me. Always, always, always, you are generous. Please never let me, even for one moment, forget that and miss out on your glorious abundance. All my love.