I have found a new hobby that I enjoy very much! I have begun to put together jigsaw puzzles! I happened to see one on sale at a store and bought it and brought it home. I cleared off the kitchen table and dumped out this 300 piece marvel. I looked over the picture on the box and thought “this will be impossible!” There was a huge inn that was at the center with 11 windows and a lake in front of it with lily pads and ducks and a barn and several outbuildings all over the property!
It was overwhelming at first until I decided to break it down to one piece at a time, one area of the puzzle at a time. I began to group like puzzle pieces together. For example, all of the blue puzzle pieces into one group for the lake and so on. Then I actually “Googled” how to work a jigsaw puzzle. I read the first step is to build the border, so that’s what I did. It is true, once the border is in then you can begin to connect the pieces. There is a certain thrill to finding just the right piece to fit the puzzle. The fitted pieces fit in comfortably as opposed to the one that do not fit.
And of course the thrill of the finish! As the puzzle comes together you can quickly see where certain pieces go and look at what you have left and figure it out. I noticed the puzzle picture itself was not as big as I thought it was. I had given up the whole table but as it came together it got smaller and smaller which made it easier to work with.
I couldn’t help but see all the analogies to the Christian life with this jigsaw puzzle. I found it so relaxing to work the puzzle and listen to music in the background. It was such a joy to see it all come together. And so it is with life, friends! Life is a puzzle and often we feel like we are in some kind of “jigsaw” world. We take on too much, we overcommit, we over schedule and we over rush especially at this time of year! It is calming, and relaxing when we know that God is in control, and that Jesus will come once again to remind the world of a Higher Power, or a Higher Purpose than this!!
Many people feel overwhelmed at the Holidays! Break it down….one thing at a time, one piece at a time. You can do it, we all can do it, one thing at a time….decorate one night, cards another night or two, wrapping over the weekend, etc. Christmas wasn’t meant to overwhelm or to be a puzzle nor anything else. Jesus came to give us a “border” around us, a hedge of grace, love, hope, peace and joy! Not just at this season but really for the whole year, every day. With that hedge, with Jesus, we can handle anything that comes our way. (Philippians 4:13).
This Sunday begins the 4-week season of Advent according to the church calendar. Advent is Latin for “waiting” and is a period of time before Christmas to slow us down, to put the “jigsaw” of life together as we await again the birth of Christ in our lives! It’s a good time to slow down, work your own jigsaw puzzle at home or whatever other hobby nourishes your soul! A retail store near me has this on their sign outside that sums it all up: “Jesus is the reason for the season!” Now that fits comfortably and makes the puzzles of life so much smaller!!
Pr. Doug Givan