During Advent, my husband and I add the Jesse Tree to our morning devotions. This morning we read the story of Moses and hung the 10 commandments ornament on the tree. We are using Ann Voskamp’s book and ornaments that I took from her web site several years ago. The book and ornaments have since evolved into a colorful hardback book called Unwrapping the Greatest Gift:A Family Celebration of Christmas and 3-D ornaments can be made or purchased online in paper or resin. I love the ones I made years ago. I downloaded the pictures from Ann’s blog site and pasted them on sparkle paper and then laminated them so they would last. The pages that go with the ornaments were pulled together and bound with spiral binding.
This morning was no different from any other time I have read Ann Voskamp. She gets right to the heart of the matter. She was telling her readers that God only gave 10 rules and that in our sinful state we can’t even keep 10. In fact, she challenged us to pick one commandment and see if we could keep it for a whole day. I thought to myself, “Well, that shouldn’t be too hard. Take something really safe like ‘You shall not kill,’ Dawn. I mean, really how many times have you killed someone? Have you ever?”
About that time our new dog, Biscuit, started to bark and bark and bark. It got me to thinking about the same barking at 5:30 this morning when the garbage man was so loud emptying my neighbor’s garbage that he woke the the dog and me. I caught myself saying to my husband, “If I could have gotten my hands on the garbage man this morning, I think I would have killed him.” Honestly, it couldn’t have even been a half hour after I hung the 10 commandments on the Jesse tree. Did I actually hear myself say, “I would have killed him”? Of course, it was a gross exaggeration to illustrate my frustration with him, but there it was, the seed of death. Jesus said if we kill we are in danger of judgement, but he also said if we are angry we are in danger of judgement Matthew 5:21-22. He does not differentiate between killing and anger. He said if we break the least of the commandments, we will be least in the Kingdom of God.
I’d be in the “least” category if it were not for Christmas. Because of Jesus the Lamb, I have been redeemed. The Babe in the manger came to pay the price for my sin and raise me out of the hell I deserve. Why would He do that?
My husband said, “You know, Dawn, that garbage man is our garbage man.”
I said, “You’re kidding.”
He said, “No, he’s the same man who will come here tomorrow to collect our trash.”
I was really sorry then. I really like our garbage man. He takes care of all our trash and is kind to our dogs. I couldn’t believe he was the same person who made all that noise at 5:30 am. I know him beyond the loud garbage collection incident and so I wanted to give him grace. Then it hit me. That’s exactly why Jesus paid the price for my sin. He knows me and loves me. We have a relationship. I am His child. He knows me intimately and, in.that.knowing, He gifts me His love, His mercy and His grace.
Each day of Advent I unwrap another layer in preparation for His coming…
His coming for all of us.