When I was a little girl, probably around 8 or 9, we spent Christmas Eve night with my Granny, and my Uncle Lewis, who lived with her and took care of her. Spending the night there was way out of the ordinary, because she was not well, and most all my memories of her find her sitting in her red recliner with me on the ottoman, literally at her feet. Because it was so unusual, I remember everything about it…well, because of that and a few other things.
First of all, I played Christmas carols for the family on the pump organ, which made me feel really special. Then, I recited The Night Before Christmas from memory, with the help of the book we read at home, and Perry Como’s musical recitation of it on his album “Perry Como Sings Merry Christmas Music,” both of which I still have.
(He needed someone more creative on his album-naming team, but I digress.)
After a night of family members telling me what a good job I had done, and my grandmother sitting in the living room in a regular chair with the rest of us, I was feeling high on the hog. Awash in the glow of the color wheel that bathed the aluminum tree in magical light, it seemed that all was right with the world.
Then it was bed time.
There were two guest rooms in my grandmother’s house, with one bed in each. My parents slept in one, and my two little brothers and I were tucked into the other like three little sardines. When we were told what room we were sleeping in, I felt the first nagging trepidation, because I never went into that room. In fact, I ran past it every time I had to go to the bathroom because there, on a book shelf, sat the most frightening thing I’d ever seen in my young life.
The Coconut Head.
Brought home from the South Pacific, was a coconut that had been fashioned into a human head, complete with face, realistic eyes, and a pipe that hung from its mouth. It was terrifying.
And now I was going to have to share a room with it.
I tried to be a big girl. I was the oldest, after all, and I had been a rock-star all evening. But as my brothers lay snoozing away, I sat awake as the eyes of the Coconut Head bored into me, seizing me with terror. My hope was that Santa would come, not so much to bring me toys, but to SAVE ME.
There was another young girl about 2000 years ago, who was getting ready to be married. She was, no doubt, excited that her time had finally come, and was enjoying the attention of family members who were equally happy about her engagement to a fine man. But suddenly, out of nowhere, an angel of the Lord appears to her, and if that wasn’t frightening enough, he tells her that she – a virgin – is going to bear a child.
When the angel tells her not to be afraid, however, she clings to it. I doubt she was completely free of fear in that moment, but she chose to trust the One who had chosen her to bear His Son. She believed He would save her from the ruin that surely awaited, but she what she didn’t realize was that it was actually the baby she carried would be the One to save her.
We can choose to trust, too, when the Coconut Heads of the world loom in the darkness, because that baby didn’t just save her.
He saved us all.
(Oh, and in case you were wondering, that Coconut Head lives on at my house, now. Fear conquered.)
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid… ~ Luke 1:30 NIV
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. ~ Psalm 34:4 ESV
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” ~ Romans 8:15 ESV