My Christmas “Miss-Her-Toe” Celebration

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Making mistakes is not in the resume of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. That was, up until now.

I am not known as Mr. Perfect by any stretch of the imagination. If there is a mistake to be made, I have already made it or it is on my “Bucket List.” I have made a lifetime profession of making mistakes.

Sooner or later, I am going to come to the end of this and stop making mistakes. I suppose I will have to live as long as Methuselah to achieve that goal, and believe me, I do not plan to live that long, only long enough to come to the end of all of my mistakes.

I must say I was making progress until this past week. Actually, it was not my mistake that highlighted the week, which made it remarkable.

My wife does not make mistakes, but this past week she made a blunder of all blunders. Believe me; I am not smiling except on the inside where I am actually laughing hysterically.

It is that time of the year when Christmas decorations magically appear in our very gracious and merry domicile. The procedure along this line is that I am to just stay out of her way. It is amazing what she can do when I am out of her way!

I suppose this year she was a little behind schedule, which is rather unusual for her and she made the blunder of all blunders by asking if I could help bring in the Christmas tree.

I remember the last time I brought in the Christmas tree. At this point, I will not give any details only to say that somebody had to go out, purchase a new Christmas tree and then clean up the mess from the old Christmas tree. Enough said along that line.

Whether my wife forgot about that incident in the busyness of the season or whether she thought I had grown out of that kind of thing.

What most wives do not understand is that every man reaches the height of maturity at the age of 15, if lucky. It does not matter how old a man gets, he is always 15 in heart and mind, particularly mind.

In the beginning of our marriage journey, we had live Christmas trees for Christmas. Through the years it became more prudent to buy an artificial Christmas tree. And so, the artificial Christmas tree was packed away in some corner of the garage.

I say garage, but it is not garage in the typical sense of the word. I am not allowed in the garage without being supervised. Years ago, my wife transformed our garage into her woodworking shop with all of the equipment needed for that kind of work. Since I do not work with woodworking projects, I am not allowed in that area.

When she supervises my visit in her “workshop,” I am not allowed to touch anything. And by anything, she means, “Don’t touch anything!” She visualizes this instruction by placing both hands on her hips and staring at me with one of “those stares.”

I followed her into that sacred space, “her workshop,” to assist her in taking the Christmas tree into the living room.

All was going very well as we extricated ourselves from her “workshop,” and navigated into the living room. I might mention that the Christmas tree was well packaged in a very heavy box and I had the heaviest end.

Then it happened. I am not sure how it happened, I just know it happened.

For some odd reason the Christmas tree box decided on its own to jump out of my hands and make a dive for the floor. There was a loud crashing sound and a lot of yelling on both sides of the box. I am not quite sure who was yelling louder, my wife or me.

In the midst of it all I heard my wife scream, “Don’t move.”

When all the screaming died down and the dust settled, we were able to examine the damage. For one, the box seemed broken beyond repair. The Christmas tree inside the box did not seem to suffer any damage. That was not the worst of it.

Neither of us moved until we had examined the situation and much to my alarm the box had fallen within one half inch of my wife’s foot. At this moment, I was sweating profusely.

Then I heard her softly, almost whisper, say, “You can be glad it missed my toe.”

I was.

My greatest temptation at the time was to laugh. I mean, really laugh out loud. One glance at my wife informed me that to laugh out loud at this moment was to jeopardize my toe.

Sometimes the best form of valor is to laugh inside without your face knowing you are laughing.

Later that evening as we were sitting around the Christmas tree drinking some eggnog I thought of a verse of Scripture. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

Tis the season to reflect on all the work that our hands have found to do during the past year. The Christmas tree is just a symbol of working together and it is always the outcome that matters not the process.

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About James Snyder

The Reverend James L. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder’s first book, won the Reader’s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored and edited 22 books altogether. He has recently signed a six-book contract with Regal Books based on the preaching ministry of Dr. A. W. Tozer. His weekly humor column, "Out To Pastor," is syndicated to more than 100 weekly newspapers. Through thirty-35 years of ministry, he and his wife Martha have been involved in three church-planting projects prior to their current ministry at the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Florida. The Snyders have three children and nine grandchildren.
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