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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Enduring Tradition

It's almost ten p.m. on Christmas Eve, and I'm in my pajamas---my favorite holey Cubs t-shirt and flannel pj pants with snowflakes. I'm wearing snowflakes in hopes that it will inspire the Eastern Tennessee weather to cooperate and give me winter. Right now, it's storming rain. By the end of the week, it's supposed to be in the mid-60s. So much for a white Christmas.

I am in Gatlinburg, high up in the mountains, in a cozy log cabin. It's got all of the essentials: beds, indoor plumbing, and wireless internet. Oh, and a 50-inch HDTV. And a hot tub. Maybe Santa will put a hot man under the tree for me to wake up to in the morning. Probably not. Plus, I'm here with my parents and the dog. Might not be an opportune time for some mistletoe mischief.

This Christmas is one for establishing new traditions. Just before last Christmas, my Mamaw passed away, so the holidays were spent with heavy clouds hanging over us. In May, Ben and Brittany got married, and so they're family-sharing at the Dove's for Christmas. Mom, Dad and I didn't want to sit at home by ourselves, so we decided to give Gatlinburg a yuletide chance. Santa will still find us here, but it will be a little weird since I'll be the only Brown kid putting out milk and cookies.

Our traditions may change, and while I may flounder in this weird, singleness-induced place between childhood and adulthood, some things do not change.

Years ago, a baby was born in a most anomalous way: of a virgin, amongst farm animals, and with a promise to all mankind to conquer sin and death in order to give eternal life.

My Pastor made a simple, yet profound statement at church this past Sunday. He said, "Jesus Christ alone has the ability to hold both grace and truth in one person." So often, as active Christians, we find ourselves in one of two camps:

a) Self-seeking, committing intentional sin and ignoring the conviction, because we know we are forgiven and covered by grace;


b) Self-righteous, espousing holier-than-thou attitudes, and beating others with the club of truth.

I am constantly towing the line between the two. I struggle with breaking free from the shackles of legalism, yet realizing that true freedom exists in self-control. I am fickle, unloyal, and chameleonlike. My Lord, however, is not like me. He walked on earth in the flesh like me, but He did not sin. He experienced daily human life and temptation, yet did not sin. He is consistent, loyal, and unchanging. He does not keep a record of my sins.

December 25 may look different every year, but Jesus was, Jesus is, and Jesus will always be my Savior, the lover of my soul.

Merry Christmas to all of you. May you experience the enduring tradition of His love for you, from whichever camp you come.


Blogger thesciencegirl said...

Merry Christmas Mary Anna!

5:20 PM

Blogger Natrudy said...

Wonderful post. Love you girl.

9:44 PM

Blogger Courtney Baker said...

Great post MAB. So true.

Missing you here at work. It is so quiet. Quieter than last week.

1:37 PM

Blogger Kristen said...

Wow, so true. Thanks, Mary Anna, and Merry Christmas!

10:32 AM


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