-Rev Melissa Fain-
1 The Lord’s word came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up and go to Nineveh, that great city, and declare against it the proclamation that I am commanding you.” 3 And Jonah got up and went to Nineveh, according to the Lord’s word. (Now Nineveh was indeed an enormous city, a three days’ walk across.)
4 Jonah started into the city, walking one day, and he cried out, “Just forty days more and Nineveh will be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They proclaimed a fast and put on mourning clothes, from the greatest of them to the least significant.
Jonah 3:1-5 CEB
I was insane when we started our ornament tradition. I had rules, and those rules had to all be followed!
Our first year I gave my husband the wedding couple. He gave me a Hoops and Yoyo PC that sang Christmas carols. His was perfect. We met online before it was cool to meet a potential spouse on the internet. we would send each other Hoops and Yoyo online cards just for fun. The next year I gave him a baby bottle that was being chilled like it was champagne. (It was our son's first Christmas.) He struggled. He ended up giving me this gorgeous snowflake ornament, but also cropped a bunch of pictures of me with our son. He put it in an ornament frame.
As the years progressed he wanted to alter the rules. He wanted to do any ornament, or only one ornament for the whole family. I was stubborn. This was going to be our tradition and traditions happened because an event happened time and time again. Then, about four years in, I realized something. I was getting something out of the ornament exchange, and he was getting nothing. I could drag him along, and make him hate the process, or I could alter what I was doing.
The above ornament was me changing our rules. He loves the NES. It was the first gaming system that was truly his own., That's why I made him a controller. It didn't have any connection to anything going on that year. I just felt it was right to give something to him. He loved the ornament, and I conceded we should do one family related ornament a year. Our rules changed because I was willing to let go, and now everyone enjoys the process. My children get excited over what might go on the tree. My husband and I can discuss what was important to both of us, and not just one of us. It's truly a family tree.
We want to believe God never wants us to give up, but sometimes we are called to let go. For Jonah, he was called to let go of the animosity that was keeping him from sharing a prophecy with Nineveh. For me, I needed to let go so a real tradition everyone loved could take root. All of us are called, at various times, to let go. Peace is sometimes in saying goodbye to prepare for the "hello" just around the corner. Peace can be putting down, so a new thing can be picked up. It could be physical, it could be mental, it could be spiritual.
Whatever it is, it's difficult to let go. Jonah, a prophet of God, had to be swallowed and spit up by a big fish to finally do what was right. If it takes us some time, we shouldn't be too upset at ourselves. Sometimes, it's in our time, and like the Prodigal Son was welcomed back by the Father, so our letting go comes with celebration too.
Let us pray:
God. help us let go so we can pick up what we need, Amen.