Aah, Christmas. I love it so much. Usually I am in the Christmas spirit easily, but not this year. Our home is all torn up with renovations for the baby, and on top of that I am sick. Sick while pregnant, mind you. My stomach is now big enough that I am starting to feel uncomfortable in my daily life, and this is exacerbated by my knowing that over the next few months this discomfort will only get worse!
So for the past week or so I've sort of been wearily struggling through rather than stopping to enjoy this special time. The low point was two nights ago when I was grumbling about a present that is proving to be difficult to prepare... I was raising my voice, swearing, and so frustrated I was near tears. Bruce calmly rubbed my back as I grumbled; he has been a tremendous support to me as I whine about the discomforts of pregnancy and become increasingly overwhelmed at all that needs done before May. Eventually I calmed down somewhat and he told me it was time for bed. I brushed my teeth, talked to him about all that I needed to get done the next day, and prepared to climb over the cumbersome set up of pillows that prevents me from sleeping on my back.
In a suddenly different tone of voice he stopped me and told me to come to him, and when I looked up I saw him standing by the bed with that awful paddle in his hand. I wanted to slip through the floorboards and disappear so badly! I knew he would be gentle with me, as he has been throughout the whole pregnancy, but I just didn't want any added discomfort at all, and I definitely didn't want to have to focus my mind on yet another thing that needed improving. I silently came around the bed and bent forward, but he made me remove my underwear as well. I grudgingly obeyed and waited in position while he talked to me about how everything was going to work itself out. He said that everything would get done, that he would continue to help me through it all, and that getting into a negative attitude was not going to help me or the baby at all. As expected the first strike was quite gentle, but the momentary sting combined with the act of submitting to something that I really really did not want to submit to broke something within me. All week I had been trying to cling to some semblance of control; control over my changing body, my disheveled house, and the ever dwindling time to enjoy the holidays. And here I was in an act that embodied my forfeiture of that control. I know that he was well aware of my aversion to being spanked in that moment, but he continued anyway. Gently, yes, but unwaveringly, and soon I was crying so hard. I felt myself letting go of all of the internal struggle, and felt a sort of peace as I began to accept that I cannot force control over all of the things that are happening right now... rather than fight against them, I should embrace the changes and accept them fully.
I literally demonstrated this acceptance as he finished the spanking, and I continued to cry as he initiated intimacy. Oh it felt so wonderful to let go of the struggle and just take in the moment and his authoritative love! I felt so cared for and so protected, as light as if a weight had been removed. Afterward I melted into his arms and actually thanked him for the spanking. I told him I would try to be less controlling and more accepting during this time, and as I settled in to sleep I was struck by how God requests this of us all of the time. He is always in control, and He is always protecting us, but He needs us to stop struggling and embrace the things that are in front of us with acceptance and peace. During the holidays Bruce and I often fall asleep to soft piano renditions of Christmas tunes, and sure enough O Holy Night was playing in the background at that moment... a thrill of hope. The weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn...
I ran those words deliberately through my mind, and let profundity of the sentence settle in... I don't need to be weary. I need to rejoice at the promise He's given us. And this is the time of year that we celebrate the beauty and magnitude of that promise. Just like that, the Christmas spirit was alive and well within me. What a gracious God, to use our flawed human fumblings to lead us to experience the peace and beauty that He offers! That alone is cause for celebration, and I will celebrate this season. Not with frantic plans and to-do lists, but with acceptance and joy.