It is Monday morning.
The six of them are sitting around the breakfast table, eating rice pudding. The announcement of rice pudding for breakfast (instead of oatmeal) was greeted with cheers, and I'm thinking that they may perceive that I am in particularly good spirits to have cooked up this treat for them. What they don't know is that I'm not. They don't know that their breakfast banter is grating on me this morning. They don't know that yesterday was a really hard day for me, and that I woke up still in a bad mood this morning. I'm irritable. I. am. not. in. the. mood. I would rather have pulled the covers over my head than greeted them and fixed breakfast. And yes, I got up early, opened my Bible, read and prayed (but didn't ever feel like it...even by the end).
But...I know that I can keep fooling them for a little while longer. If I can just control my tongue...keep saying silly little things to them about St. Nicholas day coming tomorrow, and how if they leave their shoes in the hall tonight we'll put donuts in them.
Keep returning their hugs. Hugging back hard and never being the first one to let go...even though I have to take a deep breath and force it. Keep smiling. Keep the Christmas music playing loud, and stir up the dough for gingerbread men.
Because here's the wonderful truth behind this tiny deceit: If I can hold on, and put one foot in front of the other in obedience, even if I don't feel like it...I know that soon (very soon), the One who removes my sins as far as the east is from the west will likely make me forget that my heart isn't really in it. And then my heart really will be in it. I think I'm starting to feel it already...
He is so good.
(Postscript: I added this later, because shortly after writing this post, the Casting Crowns CD we were listening to played a song that just...fit. Here it is. Enjoy.)