Thursday, December 13, 2012

What Is Your X?

A previous commitment to a church event caused last minute changes to flight plans. In order to accomplish all that had been crammed into an over-committed schedule, arrangements were made to catch the latest plane possible, arriving well after midnight to my final destination. Because it was work related, much energy and effort was expended over the next two days, leaving me pretty tired when I arrived  home, again near the hour that turned Cinderella back into a commoner.

My household was sleeping  as  I sat down to my computer to answer a few emails that had been neglected over previous days. This is what I found on my desk calendar:

 Take a closer look.

“Why did you put an X where the Christ should be?”
-   Mary Mac, age eight

I had hurriedly written the notation in shorthand, allowing room for the other items that were sure to fill its space. It is with concerted balance and intentionality that I approach this particular season in our lives. I want to do it all but I don’t want to miss a thing, an approach that at its core is an oxymoron, with bold emphasis on the word moron.

The Christmas season can bring an even more frantic pace to an already hasty walk. We tap our foot with irritation in the drive-thru line, demanding that fast food appear even faster. We hurry our children from one place to another because it is the only speed we know. We glance at our watches impatiently in the grocery store as we wait behind the elderly, the chatty, the check writer and the coupon collector. Our time is the only time of importance and our frenetic interactions make it apparent. We want what we want exactly when we want it. And we surely do not want to wait for it.

We don’t want to wait until we can afford it.
We don’t want to wait until it is our turn.
We don’t want to wait until the timing is right.
We don’t want to wait for the answer to become clear.
The question, written in eight year old scrawl on a messy desk calendar, reminded me that where Christ is absent, unrest is prevalent. While I know that He is always with me, it is in my haste that I miss out on the finer details of His presence, relying on a blurry outline as poor replacement.

A calendar full of commitments leaves little room for the presence of Christ. It was a timely reminder from a well-intentioned child that influenced the reversal of obligations not only for this momentous, joyful  month, but for those going forward.

Because, according to a wise eight year old, why would I want to put an X where Christ should be?


Erin said...

I was thinking about this today myself. I spent three months this summer backpacking across Europe and prayed all day, everyday. When I was walking out the door this morning I realized that I have allow the busyness of my daily stress and routine to supersede my prayers. So we try again to do better tomorrow I suppose!

And as I love facts and it should make you feel better, I must pass on this bit of information, via wikipedia:

Xmas is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas. It is sometimes pronounced /ˈɛksməs/, but it, and variants such as Xtemass, originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation /ˈkrɪsməs/. The "-mas" part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass,[1] while the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as "Christ".

Joni said...


You are correct. Everyday is a new day. Thank goodness, because God knew that I would need a LOT of second chances. :)

You are also correct about the Greek transliteration of Chi. In college, I was a Chi Omega, and while my behavior didn't always demonstrate it, I was proud to have the symbol of Christ on the front of my jersey.

My eight year old's question caused a much needed pause in a calendar begging for mercy. The manner in which I have approached each day since are better because of it.

So good to hear from you. It has been much too long. : )