With his breath reeking of coffee and cigarettes he speaks of God. He attempts to deliver the Sunday School lesson – but I don’t really hear anything he’s saying… I’m just too distracted by the bad breath. Maybe my Mom could suggest a cough drop – one that smelled better than hers, of course, but something to help this poor guy!
It was a class full of 8th graders – or was it 6th? We were all being confirmed that year so I think we must have been 12 years old. Time to move out of the child-like realm of Sunday School and into the big church. Our rite of passage, I guess?
What a gaggle of preteens we were! Kids – pure and simple… Chomping at the bit to get outside to wait in the courtyard for our parents to pick us up. I remember having time to kill and if there was snow, there would be snowballs or snowmen. We ran and played but we never strayed far – staying close to the building. We were just enjoying our temporary liberation from teachers, school, church, and parents. Unstructured time that was just FREE.
I find it odd that as an adult, I lack “free” time. There’s some sort of guilt stamped on the back of my mind – some impedance that disallows unstructured space in my life and in my day. How did that happen? How do I get rid of that? What would “free” time even look or feel like at my age?
I know there would be limitations because of neck problems and chronic pain… but limitations don’t sound “free” at all, do they? It may be the everyday life of a wife and a mom, I guess, that also holds me back. It seems like “priorities” are endless – almost like a black hole that just swallows me and all the spare hours in the day.
Last Sunday we decorated our foyer and sanctuary for Christmas with a few little extra ideas thrown in. We are spending the four Sundays in Advent as a time to throw out the welcome mat and have an old-fashioned “Open House.” Special music is planned as well as holiday cookies and wassail. I’m really looking forward to these Sundays to mingle with friends and acquaint ourselves anew with talk of children, new grandchildren and maybe where everyone will spend their Christmas morning.
In the process of decorating, I took directions from our fearless foyer decorator and before I knew it I was climbing up and down a ladder hanging and draping all the sparkly and shiny baubles on the tall Christmas tree. Never flinching once, never feeling sore or strained, I repeated this over and over and before I knew it … 3 hours had passed. It was fun and it was free. Unexpected free time that I consider a gift.
Jesus came as a free gift as well…and Isaiah 9:6 foretold of this precious free gift, and all the magnitude it would entail…
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Maybe the next time I ponder “free” time, I’ll think of how FREE my time is, thanks to a baby, in a manger, who gave his life so freely.