Several days ago now, a very dear young friend of mine and Rick’s was dancing in the show, Esther: For Such A Time As This that is put on by Creo Arts & Dance Conservatory – a sweet local dance studio.
If you are a parent, grandparent or close friend then you know The Routine. The Routine of, we “only have eyes for you” that mentality that draws us to zero in with laser like intention to and find the one we love and adore up there on that stage. Rick and I have The Routine down, very well (to state it modestly). So when my eyes finally settled in on my young friend, I sat back and settled in for the show.
Esther and Christmas? What’s the connection there? That’s a good question.
As the story began to unfold, my emotions became undone…
Wait!! Esther, an orphan, who was raised by her uncle, taken as a teen into a king’s harem, subjected to beauty treatments (defined by what men named as beauty), only to then be chosen to become queen? Talk about interruptions!
One major interruption of Esther’s life came to her because of another’s hatred – Hamon. Esther had done nothing to this man, but his hatred had the potential to destroy her people and even her the queen.
How often are our lives interrupted by someone else’s choice of jealousy, hatred or resentment of something or someone?
As the dance troop unfolded this story, I saw an image that I have somehow missed despite my many years of reading this story: Esther prepared a table and sat down with her enemy, not once, but twice.
When we read Esther’s story, we are lucky enough to know the conclusion, but Esther didn’t have the privilege of knowing how things would turn out; instead she risked her very life to enter into this conflict.
What kind of courage does it require to sit across from someone you are in conflict with? Think of Jesus. He entered a world in conflict and even up to his last meal sat at the table with those who were opposed to him.
As the dancers emotions and energy carried us through to the end of the story, instead of applause we waited quietly as each cast member came out on stage, took a deep breath and stated their name AND said, “I have been born for such a time as this.”
What does it mean to let go of outcomes and remember God is with us in the conflict?
Let’s face it, Christmas often stirs the pot of unresolved family issues. But Christmas also has the potential to illuminate differences that are in the process of transformation. Maybe Christmas dinner will be an actual time of sitting across the table from one whom we are in conflict with… so how are we going to enter into the process?
“I have been born for such a time as this…”
As the dancers made this beautiful declaration, my eyes leaked, and goose bumps crawled over my skin, I realized anew that each of our stories brings ledge of choice moments where our lives are interrupted. And only we can decide how we will respond.
Esther could have stayed safe in the life that history created for her, but instead she heard the question, “Who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”
And she responded by preparing the table and being present to the conflict in front of her…