Cleaning Up the Poop

It was just a wisp at first.  That moment when you smell something that is out of place.  It’s not the cookies in the oven or the cinnamon tart quaintly melting on the counter.  No, this was the smell of poop.  Sewage.  You know, sewage.

Have you ever had one of those weeks?  Months? Years?  Yeah, for us it was the week before Christmas a couple years ago.  I guess we were overdue.  The sewer backed up into our basement.  We found out that there was no access.  So the plumber had to cut our main pipe to clean out the line.  Have you ever seen a main sewage pipe?  It’s almost as big around as a small woman’s waist.

Clogged.  With sewage.  Use your imagination here.  Or maybe not.

It took 4 hours of overtime, 8 pm to midnight, 3 days before Christmas to snake out the system.

When the men left, they dragged their dripping equipment across our basement floor, across our rug, up the basement stairs, and across our kitchen floor.  My husband, my hero, picked up the other end of the hose to carry it across the dining room carpeting.  It still dripped.  What was it dripping?

Black, stinky sewage.  On light tan carpeting.

My husband, my hero, stayed up until almost 2 am to clean the floor in the basement.

The next day, two days before Christmas, he threw the basement wool throw rug into our almost new high tech front load washing machine.

Which promptly clogged up the pump and just about every hose in our almost new high tech front load washing machine with little wool hairs and backed the water up onto the floor.

My pastor husband did not speak very pastorally.  Use your imagination.  Or maybe not.

Most of our family was visiting, which included our two toddler grandchildren.  Have you ever seen the amount of laundry toddlers produce?  Bless the technician’s heart who came out the day after Christmas and didn’t charge us overtime.

That Christmas was supposed to be special.  We had everyone together, except for our one son-in-law, who works an amazingly tough job away from home.  My expectations soared.  But our daughter Emily and her husband and son were moving West to Phoenix.  Our grandson’s world was turned upside down.  Our house filled with tension between the string of events caused by backed up poop and too much commotion.

I blinked and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were gone.

We didn’t get a family picture.  In fact, we got very few pictures with people in them.

We didn’t watch our traditional Christmas Eve movie.

We didn’t play a game.

We didn’t even light our Advent Wreath once.

A surprise present that I planned for my husband’s birthday in January fell terribly flat.

The expenses to fix broken things piled up.

Isn’t that what Jesus came for?

The peace the angel talked about in Luke chapter 2 was not so much a worldly peace where wars would never happen or circumstances would be perfect.  The angel spoke of a supernatural peace available from knowing God through Jesus Christ. Even though our house filled with a different aroma 3 days before Christmas, even though we didn’t take a family picture, watch our Christmas Eve movie, gather round the table for a game, or light our Advent Wreath, Jesus dwelled here.  Because He promises to be Emmanuel, God With Us.

Why do we try to hide the fact that sewage exists?  It exists physically and spiritually and mentally and emotionally.  Rejoice in peace, because our Savior is with us.  As I look back over Christmas 2013, I will find the beautiful moments and know that there is always one eternal moment to hold close in our hearts…Emmanuel God With Us.

Luke, 2:8-14

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

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