The Best Way to do Christmas Cleaning
Why it happened right then, when she turned toward the stack of dishes on the counters, the squash peeling and apple cores and crusted pots, she had no idea.
No idea why it came right then, in the midst of kids and mess and loud, like a coming around:
How when you are turned away from God, life turns ugly, but when you are turned toward God, life turns lovely.
She could feel that in her — His love making impossible things lovely.
She turned the tap on. Turned in the whirl toward the dishes. Turned toward it again, like Mary on that donkey turning toward Bethlehem — how every Christmas miracle begins with a turning of direction.
Spurgeon had said it and she thought of it there at the sink, her hands dipping into hot water:
“To a man who lives unto God nothing is secular, everything is sacred.
He puts on his workday garment and it is a vestment to him.
He sits down to his meal and it is a sacrament.
He goes forth to his labor, and therein exercises the office of the priesthood. His breath is incense and his life a sacrifice.
He sleeps on the bosom of God, and lives and moves in the divine presence.
To draw a hard and fast line and say, “This is sacred and this is secular,” is, to my mind, diametrically opposed to the teaching of Christ and the spirit of the gospel…
Peter saw a sheet let down from heaven in which were all manner of beasts and four-footed creatures, which he was bidden to kill and eat, and when he refused because they were unclean, he was rebuked by a voice from heaven, saying, “What God hath cleansed that call not thou common” [Acts 10:15; 11:9].
The Lord hath cleansed your houses, he has cleansed your bed chambers, your tables… He has made the common pots and pans of your kitchens to be as the bowls before the altar —
if you know what you are and live according to your high calling.
You housemaids, you cooks, you nurses, you ploughmen, you housewives, you traders, you sailors, your labor is holy if you serve the Lord Christ in it, by living unto Him as you ought to live.
The sacred has absorbed the secular.”
That’s what she could feel it there at the sink — the turning.
The sacred absorbing the secular, even here.
Her Christmas becoming more.
And when she just kept at the laundry and the meals and the cleaning in those weeks before Christmas, it wasn’t like all the Advents that had come before.
Because the truth of it was, and she began the living of it — that He had come and already cleaned her house and her tables and her grime and made her pots and pans as bowls before an altar.
All your labor is holy when it’s all for your Lord.
And what God had cleaned, she could not call common again — her there in a sacred mess of grace.
Her breath there at the sink as incense.