o-little-town
At Christmastime, we turn our hearts toward a star, a manger, shepherds, a stable, Magi carrying gifts, and the unspeakable joy of the birth of Jesus. We hunker with family and share memories with a tear. We sing carols with gusto and exhort others to put Christ back in Christmas.

This December brought me to meditations on God’s great Gift to us and the many ways He reminds us of His love—not just at Christmastime but throughout the year. Two thoughts surfaced with clarity:

  • The unique personalities of women
  • The unique spiritual gifts given

That doesn’t sound very Christmassy? Read on.

I know loud women and quiet ones. Graceful ones and awkward ones. Shy ones, bold ones. Home schoolers and public school teachers. Comedic women and sober ones. Executives and stay-at-home moms. Single women and those married for decades. One does not negate another but adds to the awe of how uniquely we are created.

There are women who are teachers and leaders and speakers. There are those who serve without acclaim or recognition. There are gifts for solitude like prayer and study and gifts for community like laughter and song. There are those gifted with wealth to share, and those who are a gift of faith whom we call poor (James 2:5). And when each woman treasures and uses her gifts, we see God with us—Immanuel.

But what happens when we do not like the personality we have or the gifts we have been given? Examples come to mind. After a day-long Myers-Briggs workshop, one woman found her personality test results too ordinary and demanded that her results be changed to the rarest personality type. Another woman, an extrovert, tried to skew the test results so that she could be known as an introvert because she perceived that as more intellectual. One woman I know didn’t like the results of a quiz on Facebook, so she took it several times until the results were what she wanted to post. Really? Cheating on personality tests?

We do the same with spiritual gifts, envying others, and thinking our own gifts are drab in comparison, we cast them aside as unimportant.

So some women lurch through life unhappy with who they are, unwilling to face who they are, unwilling to find joy in who they are. And those same women refuse to accept the gifts given to them, preferring to long for something else.

If we really want to put Christ in Christmas, we need to practice gratitude instead of self-loathing, rejection, and envy. We need to see ourselves as intentionally made–intentionally “not like the other.” We need to look at our gifts with wonder and anticipation and use them to encourage others.

The ordinary—it is where we meet Jesus, and that is extraordinary!

 

We call bad one who rejects the fruit he is given for the fruit he is expecting or the fruit he was given last time.  C.S. Lewis, Perelandra
Advertisements

A Woman’s Place

As I get a little older, my hindsight increases, and I can see life patterns. Some patterns are bothersome—maybe not to the extent of ranting or disrupting fellowship, but words are needed.

One such pattern is the ongoing discussion of women and their roles in the local church. In society and history, feminists sought education, careers, equality, and even independence. At times they disparaged women who sought a career in the home, or those who enjoyed cooking or sewing. Women at home criticized their sisters as reckless, harmful to the family unit, masculine, and emasculating. Instead of women offering salt and light to the world, the negative behaviors encroached on the Church—some denominations leaning too far one way, some leaning too far the other.

A woman’s place is wherever she is ministering with her gifts. Respect for the woman called to minister to infants in a nursery should equal the respect for the one called to mission in teaching. One is not more Biblical than the other. Cover your head, or don’t cover your head. Speak from the pulpit or do not speak from the pulpit. Disagree or agree. But do so with respect and the expectation of learning from  one another–not the gossipy asides, condemnation, or jokes at the expense of others.

The following video might begin some dialogue.

Posted by Alice Longaker