Last week, I shared how it feels when we are locked out. This week, I have reflected on how Mary and Joseph must have felt as the days grew closer for her to give birth to baby Jesus. Surely, they felt locked out as government, guidelines, friends, even family forced them to look elsewhere for help and hope. They traveled far away where God was with them in every adventure they encountered while delivering His Son — His gift to the world. They found a way to keep Jesus safe and sound. God showed up and secured every detail in the story that would change the world . He sent the Wise Men and shepherds who could have been lost but found their way by the Star in the East. With angels singing glory to God, let His praises rin, the first Christmas Day began with the birth of the newborn King.
Being locked out can happen throughout the year, not just during the holiday season. Each experience of being locked in or out can help us appreciate those normal days when things seem right in our world.
In May 2008, I handled a lock out adventure with much more maturity. My knees were red and rashed from a morning battle scrubbing my white-tiled kitchen floor with Clorax. My hair was in hot curlers and I was clad in shorts and a pajama shirt. I looked like a red-kneed alien about to attack when I realized I was locked out. I love to make every minute count, so I reasoned I would take out the trash while my hair curled. When the door slammed behind me and it automatically locked, my heart sank. I had 20 minutes before kids would hop off the bus for afterschool care at The Learning Station. My door was locked, no neighbors were home, my cell phone was inside and I was a wreck. My backyard was beautiful, with two white tents standing and flowers blooming beautifully. I was hosting a wedding rehearsal for my niece that night and a 25th wedding reception for our neighbors on Sunday. My Friday morning had been wonderful as I worked like Martha to get everything ready, then, I locked myself out. I didn’t fall apart or lose my mind this time. I planned and verbally declared the enemy could just go take a hike. It never fails when things seem to be going so well, the devil shows up and tries to steal our joy. I started repeating James 4:”Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” I walked around my house and talked out loud as if the door would fling open anytime. It didn’t, but I did look up and see the windows opened in our sunroom. My smile widened as I stood the long, silver ladder against the house and started my climb to freedom. Standing on the top rand, I realized the screens were secured so they wouldn’t slide open from the outside. I started my descent to find a knife to cut the screen, but remembered they were special order screens and replacing one just to get inside the house went against my frugal upbringing. With only minutes to spare, I had to think fast. I heard laughter near our backyard fence and recognized a dear friend’s voice. Running toward the foursome preparing to take off in their golf carts, I yelled for help. Jackie Parrish heard my cries and the four gentlemen came to my rescue. One of them climbed the ladder and tried to release the locked screen, another tried the door. Finally, Jackie gave me his cell phone to call my daughter-in-law to bring a key. With all the drama, I had forgotten how ridiculous I looked, until Jackie inquired about my bleeding knees. I explained and the five of us enjoyed a good laugh before they took off to finish their game of golf and my spare key arrived just in the nick of time. My curly hair and red knees were a hot topic that night, but the enemy didn’t spoil the party. I was thankful for the people God put in my path to share my adventure.
God is always with us, watching over us and helping us through life’s adventures. We should make sure we have taken care of every little detail to ensure we don’t get locked out of heaven’s gates. Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, trust and obey, and stand firm in faith until our journey here ends. Then you won’t have to worry about being locked out of paradise and sad words from your Father. “…sorry, I never knew you.” Instead you will celebrate the beginning of a never ending adventure in heaven with Jesus and all those saints who’ve gone on before you. His words will welcome you home, ‘…well done my good and faithful servant.’ Then, we’ll be locked in forever and ever — no more keys, no worries or sickness, no sadness or bad news, no terrorism or torture, no hate or crime, no politics or prejudice, no judging or juggling, no testing or expectations to do more, more, more, just God and goodness and glory forever and ever. Eternity with our Father is a great gift…free for the asking.
This Christmas season can find us locked out of the true meaning of the season. Don’t let busyness and commercialism spoil the joy of these weeks when we should be locked in to a closeness with our Lord and loved ones. Lock out craziness that crowds our Christ. Lock in love that ushers His sweet spirit into our hearts and homes. Relish quiet mornings reading His Word while the tree twinkles in the darkness. Rest for a few moments during your busy day and watch wonders of December along your way. Communicate with family and friends; don’t try to do everything or lock yourself into spend…spend…spend! Choose to give gifts to charities and cheer up those who have no one to brighten their holiday. Designate a night for family to sing and share memories of past Christmas adventures. Attend church services and look for those who might be alone to sit with at Christmas Eve services. Go caroling, visit rest homes, take time to wear a smile and don’t worry so much about presents stacked in that traditional huge pile. Look around and treasure the things He has freely given that we take for granted. Lock His love in your hearts and homes, keep your families focused on the miracle of Jesus and the gift of Christmas will live on and on and on!