Of my many awesome childhood looks—like crimped hair, stretch pants and slouch socks, jelly shoes with matching bracelets—one of my most memorable-to-me ensembles debuted in December 1991. I had lines in the Sunday School Christmas play, so for the program, my parents got me this, um, stunning red dress:
If you don’t remember or are, ahem, younger than me (don’t flaunt it, okay?), there was a time when bangs were this glorious fashion composition requiring both under-curling and over-curling. You split your bangs into two layers—curled the bottom layer under and the top layer over.
That photo above doesn’t quite do my big bangs justice, so here’s a photo taken that same Christmas:
The thing I remember most about that red dress photo above is that it was my Dad who helped curl my bangs as I got ready for the program. And I remember showing up at church, having friends ooh and ahh over my dress and my big hair, telling them my dad did my hair…and their grasped responses.
Your DAD did your hair?!
I remember being so surprised at their surprise. Didn’t every little girl’s dad help do their hair? One of my earliest memories is my dad combing my hair after bath-time and asking if I wanted it parted on the side or the middle. (I always picked the side.)
I remember looking at my dad differently later that night, realizing I had something not everyone had: a father willing to take a curling iron to my hair to help me achieve the perfect big bangs. And I was convinced that night—still am—that I got the best dad.
I was thinking about this memory, looking at the photo, recently when my thoughts turned toward Christmas. I knew I needed to come up with this blog post along with several other writing commitments, but to be honest, I was feeling a little—okay a lot—empty. Void of ideas. Spiritually dry.
I even looked out the window at one point, saw a line of bony, bare trees and thought to myself, “That’s exactly how I feel going into this Christmas. Stripped down without much to offer.”
Which sounds a little melodramatic, I know, but I’m a writer. We can take the pensive thing too far sometimes. :)
But seriously, I hadn’t been feeling all that Christmasy or inspired when I found this photo. Then I thought about my dad doing my hair. And how I saw him differently that night…
And I started thinking, what if this Christmas, I could see God differently? What if I could hear the Christmas story in fresh ways this December? What if the surprise in my friends’ eyes when I told them my dad was the one to do my hair became my surprise at who God is and the things he does?
But how do we see God differently? How does the Christmas story—one many of us have heard thousands of times—become fresh?
Answer: I’m not sure. I’m really not. But I’ve started praying about it. I’m praying for clear eyes and ready ears. I’m praying to be surprised. I’m praying for those craggy, drooping branches in my heart to turn leafy and green, even in the dead of an Iowa winter.
And I can say one thing for sure: I’m convinced God will show up. He’ll surprise me. He’ll reveal himself in new ways. Because I’ve got the best God.
We’ve got the best God. And I hope he surprises you this Christmas, too.
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Melissa Tagg, author of Made to Last and Here to Stay, is a former reporter and total Iowa girl. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. She’s passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings. Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com.