by Peg Coleman
Move over Forrest Gump—life, rather than being like a box of chocolates is actually more like an egg yolk and it all happened while making cookies. I had just cracked an egg into a bowl prior to beating it into a frothy cloud. Looking at that egg I began to marvel at the wonder of it and thought of how the yolk reminded me of the cells in our own bodies and the membrane around each one—similar to the membrane around the egg yolk.
That membrane around our cells is semi-permeable, which means it allows things to pass into the cell to nourish growth while it allows waste material to pass out to keep the cell clean and functioning properly. That’s so amazing, and it’s all going on all by itself without a single direction from any of us!
Then I thought of Christmas because of all the things this season means to people-- good memories, and not so good memories. And it made me think of how our hearts, which can hold on to or let go of memories, can be like this egg yolk. We are the ones who act as our own semi-permeable membrane; we decide what comes into our hearts and stays to nourish and feed, and we decide what we let go of as unhelpful waste that we sense will hinder our growth. Only sometimes we can’t seem to do the letting go quite so easily and that’s where Christmas comes in again.
Though it was not always the case, if you study the history of the celebration we call Christmas, (a celebration of the wondrous birth of Christ) -- as a child it was always a magical time of expectation and excitement with the tree and the presents, and somewhere in all of that a sense of the importance of a little baby lying on a bed of straw. As I grew older I began to see that for many, this time was actually one of the most terrible times in the year for them. It was often a time that held a great sense of aloneness because somehow all the expectations never seemed to become real for them. Families would get together and there would be tension; the mom wants to do things this way, the “kids” now grown with children of their own, want to do things another way. Someone always gets a better present than you, or someone else’s dinner dish is highly praised and yours isn’t noticed at all. Or you’re alone, and you feel more alone than ever at this time when friends are struggling to find just the right gifts for family and friends, while you have no one to buy gifts for or to receive gifts from. Magazines are full of stories of how we can escape the trap of “Christmas depression”. How sad is that?
As I stood looking at my egg yolk sitting all innocent and unsuspecting in its little bowl I thought how much we’re like that membrane-- but with one great difference: we choose what comes in and stays in and what goes out and stays out. We can choose to let bitterness and resentment enter our lives and stay there, or we can choose to let forgiveness and tolerance—or as the Bible says forbearance—toward others enter our lives.
As we gather together with family and friends this holiday season or as we spend this time on our own, perhaps we can remember the simple words that Christ gave us to say to His Father …”forgive us our trespasses (to the same degree and fullness) as we forgive those who trespass against us”. Let us take time to consider all that we’ve kept in our hearts that is hurtful, resentful and bitter and let it go, simply let it go. Let it all pass out through the membrane that surrounds it. Then let us open our hearts to the life-giving Grace that alone can change us forever, even the Grace of God, made visible to us this season in the form of a small child.
Return to Table of Contents