Losing Our Hamster Helped Me Find Christmas

Enjoy this re-post from December 31st, 2014

“But we have to celebrate and be glad, because… he was lost and is found.” Luke 15:32

I am not a pet person. I have lots of allergies, and therefore did not grow up with them. I’ve also heard that they’re a lot of work. I’ve got three kids; I don’t need a fourth little being to add to my work load.

But being a mom means it’s not about me anymore. So, after a lot of badgering from my kids, I finally broke down and got them a hamster for Christmas. I was pleasantly surprised when little Petunia stole my heart at first sight!

But I accidentally left the latch open on the “petting zone” of her cage on Sunday night. When we woke up on Monday, she was nowhere to be found. We have a fairly large house with lots of places for a little fur ball to hide. But over the next twenty-four hours, we moved just about every item and piece of furniture on the first floor with no luck. We left a trail of hamster food to lure her back, but nothing. My kids are devastated, and quite frankly, so am I.

Late last night, I saw the first piece of evidence to deduce where Petunia might be.

There were clumps of insulation in the heating duct in my bathroom. I think our little hamster somehow got into our basement and is building a nest for herself with the warm and fuzzy insulation lining the exposed ceiling beams down there. That’s the worst possible place for her to be! There is no way we will find her down there. There are shelves and shelves of paint cans, hardware, boxes, power tools, and all kinds of miscellaneous crap for her to hide behind. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Petunia isn’t the only thing I’ve lost recently. In the chaos leading up to December 25th, I lost the true meaning of Christmas. I left the latch open to that space that I carve out each day for prayer to stay connected with God. That time frame just disappeared into cyber shopping, wrapping, planning, and cooking.

Moreover, I was more concerned with moving the Elf On The Shelf to preserve the “magic” of Christmas for my kids than I was with reading our daily Advent reflections together to honor the “miracle” of Christmas. We got more caught up with making gingerbread houses and Christmas crafts, than we did with carrying out small acts of kindness to earn pieces of yarn to line and soften the manger trough where Baby Jesus would lay.

Yes, we did bake a birthday cake and sing to Him first thing on Christmas morning, but the Nativity set I placed under the tree got buried beneath mounds of torn wrapping paper as my kids opened their gifts with rapid fire speed.

I truly believe it’s not too late to find Petunia. Hamsters are nocturnal creatures. I think the trick will be to sit in the basement in the dark, perfectly still, and listen. That’s the only way we are going to hear her. Once we do, the sounds she makes will lead us to her.

It’s also not too late to find the true meaning of Christmas. Oddly enough, the trick to finding Christmas is the same as the trick to finding a hamster: I need to sit in the dark of my emptiness, be perfectly still, and listen. That’s the only way I am going to hear God. Once I do, He will lead me to that place where the Christmas miracle happens on a regular basis.

Questions for Reflection:

     * Have I left the latch open to my heart and let it be carried away by the chaos of the Christmas season?

     * How can I go about finding my way back to that space within myself where Jesus wants to be born?

2 thoughts on “Losing Our Hamster Helped Me Find Christmas

  1. My oldest Granddaughter of five wonderful girls has a hubby, 3 kids; the youngest one year and two boys 10 and 14. They have a large dog, a bearded dragon and two ferets. Can’t imagine how she handles it, a job and drives 300 miles a week to get baby to day care and her job and back home. But she loves them all and so do I.


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