ronniemcbrayer300 bKENTUCKY (12/22/12) - Here I am, twisted up in the same desperate situation again this year. It’s not my fault – I swear it’s not. Anticipating this jumbled mess, and having been stuck in it many times before, I planned carefully to avoid it.

A year ago I employed a deliberate strategy to prevent this very disaster, and I put in painstaking efforts to manage my risk. But now I see that my preemptive planning was an obvious failure. Forces beyond my control have conspired against me to deceive and weave a tangled web. My dilemma? The annual hanging of the Christmas lights.

When I put these lights away in the attic last January they were in perfect arranged order. I had rolled and packed them so carefully, I just knew the strings of blinking colors would burst from their boxes unfettered. Instead, every strand – every single strand I tell you – looks like a giant bird’s nest.

How did this happen? Do the electrical cords naturally convulse like this? Is this how Santa’s elves keep themselves busy in the summer months – sneaking into our attics, basements, and storage units to twist and kink our well-organized Christmas decorations? Bah, humbug to it all, I say.

I doubt that Joseph had any holiday lights to string up on the first Christmas, but he had to feel like a big tangled mess had just landed in his lap. One day everything made sense. The next day nothing did. One moment he had a well-conceived plan. The next moment he had a mess on his hands. In January his life was in order, boxed nicely for the future. In December, that same life had devolved into chaos.

One day Joseph was driving nails, building furniture, and doing what carpenters do, and the next he was in the middle of a divine conspiracy. One day he was single, planning a wedding to the fair and beautiful Mary, and the next he was married, preparing to rear a child that was definitely not his. One day Joseph was at home in Nazareth in blissful, warm familiarity, and the next he was fighting off the midnight cold in a strange Bethlehem stable as a new child was born into the world. Forces beyond his control were definitely at work.

What did Joseph do with this tangled web? He went to work untangling every twisted strand of it. He took on the responsibility that had found him. Buoyed by his faith, he believed this child birthed by Mary was the miraculous, chosen One of God – the Messiah.

Joseph chose to play the role of father to a child that was not his. He bore the scandalous stares and the hushed small-town gossip about his wife and his adopted son. He kept driving nails, kept building furniture, and kept doing what carpenters do, unraveling each stubborn strand as he went.

I’m sure there were a few knots that never came undone for Joseph. Like: How can God take the form of a helpless, human baby? Why did God choose Mary to bring this child into the world? Why did God pick him to be the child’s surrogate father? There were no answers to such questions; at least no easy answers.

And for us, there are often not enough answers to go around either, just twisting questions and more impossible knots. What do we do? We sit down on the floor with whatever life, God, Providence, or destiny has dealt to us and we untangle as much as we can.

We live. We take on the responsibility that has found us. We keep doing whatever it is we do; we stay after it. And why? Because if we are going to live life, it will mean persisting through the confusion; there’s no other choice.

So when your well-ordered, well-kept life explodes into a tangled mess – and it will – what are you going to do? You can point fingers, blame others, curse the Fates, ask a million unanswerable questions, or you can get on with untangling things as you go.  Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Lady Blazers Capture Second Region All 'A' Championship

MARION, Ky. (4/17/15) — The University Heights Academy softball team won its first Second Region All "A" Classic title… Read More

Free Seedling Plantings Available While Supplies Last

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (4/17/15) — The Kentucky Division of Forestry hands out tree seedlings Friday, April 17 at Baptist… Read More
1 DOW 17,826.30
-279.47 (-1.54%)    
2 S&P 2,081.18
-23.81 (-1.13%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,931.81
-75.98 (-1.52%)    

Most Read This Week

April 13, 2015 6116

Three Juveniles, Adult Accused of Vandalizing…

by Deputy Will Coursey
April 14, 2015 4669

Several Juveniles Charged in Connection with Fight

by SurfKY News
April 09, 2015 3888

MPD, HCSO Joint Investigation Leads to Two…

by Lt. William Poe
April 16, 2015 3285

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – April 16,…

by Hopkinsville – Christian County Crime Stoppers
April 09, 2015 3110

Woman Charged with Multiple Offenses Including…

by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read This Month

March 18, 2015 10015

UPDATE: Hanson Man Located in Henderson, Taken to…

by Trooper Stu Recke
April 02, 2015 8409

UPDATE: Madisonville Man Injured in Head-on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

April 16, 2015 3285

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – April 16,…

by Hopkinsville – Christian County Crime Stoppers
April 16, 2015 1873

Dawson Native, Former Disney Graphic Designer…

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
April 16, 2015 1296

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru…

by Barry Franklin
April 16, 2015 1285

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports Released -…

by SurfKY News
April 16, 2015 1130

Muhlenberg District Court Fines Handed Down

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
April 16, 2015 1126

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by SurfKY News
April 17, 2015 1012

An Open Letter from an Addict

by Olivia Kirks
April 16, 2015 988

Business Spotlight: Community Health Centers…

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
April 16, 2015 872

Children’s Advocacy Director Shares Information…

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
April 16, 2015 763

Kentucky's Jobless Rate Dips to 5.1 Percent in…

by Kim Brannock