Dear church and friends,
When Rachel was young, I didn’t have much time to myself but I did have time to play. Play is a time where you forget about the past and worry about the future, and are caught up in what you are doing. We’d go outside and throw a frisbee, me seeking to throw her a perfect pass as she ran a route that broke left. In the kitchen, we’d make gingerbread cookies, cutting them into shapes, decorating them when they were cooled, creating edible “art.” We’d bring matchbook cars out to the playground slide and see which one would go down fastest or which one would jump off the end the farthest.
It seems to me that Thanksgiving leading into the Christmas season is an invitation to play. You reach in and take out the insides of the turkey and put stuffing inside…that’s cool. You get to put things on a table or outside that make you smile. You take your set of dollar store purchases and turn them into a cellophane-wrapped gift. The thing about play is you can imagine yourself a fabulous chef or a grand designer.
But there is one thing that dampens my spirit. And, it is the thought of what others think of my creations. Suddenly, I’m judging myself. Are my gifts good enough? Does my table look beautiful? Do my cookies look like what I see on the baking channel?
Play gets lost in trying to serve my imagined expectations of another. Not only does play get lost but so does connection. I’ve spent much too much time caught up in trying to make a gathering perfect, losing the joy of the moment of being together.
I pray for God to release me and you of imagined expectations. Let the days ahead unfold. Where you can, let go of deadlines and instead take hold of fun times. I remember some of the best moments of childhood came out of knocking on a friend’s door and hearing a “yes” when I asked, “can you come out to play?” Let’s play!