KEEPING THE FAITH: Oh the tangled web we must unweave

Published: Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 02:54 PM.

Here I am, twisted up in the same desperate situation again this year. It’s not my fault — I swear it’s not.

Anticipating this jumbled mess, and having been stuck in it many times before, I planned carefully to avoid it.

A year ago I employed a deliberate strategy to prevent this very disaster, and I put in painstaking efforts to manage my risk. But now I see that my preemptive planning was an obvious failure. Forces beyond my control have conspired against me to deceive and weave a tangled web. My dilemma? The annual hanging of the Christmas lights.

When I put these lights away in the attic last January they were in perfect arranged order. I had rolled and packed them so carefully. I just knew the strings of blinking colors would burst from their boxes unfettered. Instead, every strand — every single strand I tell you —looks like a giant bird’s nest.

How did this happen? Do the electrical cords naturally convulse like this? Is this how Santa’s elves keep themselves busy in the summer months — sneaking into our attics, basements, and storage units to twist and kink our well-organized Christmas decorations? Bah, humbug to it all, I say.

I doubt that Joseph had any holiday lights to string up on the first Christmas, but he had to feel like a big tangled mess had just landed in his lap. One day everything made sense. The next day nothing did. One moment he had a well-conceived plan. The next moment he had a mess on his hands. In January his life was in order, boxed nicely for the future. In December, that same life had devolved into chaos.

One day Joseph was driving nails, building furniture, and doing what carpenters do, and the next he was in the middle of a divine conspiracy. One day he was single, planning a wedding to the fair and beautiful Mary, and the next he was married, preparing to rear a child that was definitely not his. One day Joseph was at home in Nazareth in blissful, warm familiarity, and the next he was fighting off the midnight cold in a strange Bethlehem stable as a new child was born into the world. Forces beyond his control were definitely at work.



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