Max and I played Elf On The Shelf this holiday season. Every morning, he hid my elf, Kringle, somewhere in our great room. We usually wake up at about the same time, but I take much longer to actually get out of bed so he had plenty of time to find ingenious hiding places for Kringle. To increase the degree of difficulty, I don’t even have a standard, full-size shelf elf. Most of the elves sold in retail outlets are about a foot tall, with long squishy legs. I have the Elf on the Shelf miniature figurine. Kringle is made entirely of plastic and is about as big as my thumb.
Every morning, I went on the hunt to figure out where that mischievous elf was lurking. Given his size and the excessive number of nooks and crannies in our great room, this was not an easy task. Kringle was an uncommonly good hider. Max proved that he has exceptional elf-whispering skills. Some days, I found Kringle pretty easily. Most days, I needed a hint. On a few days, I needed multiple, fairly pointed hints. We had a good time and I usually finished each day’s search by giggling and marveling over Kringle’s silliness. Pot calling the kettle black, anyone?
Yes, it was a silly game, but I learned several valuable life lessons from the Elf on the Shelf. In this season of giving, let me share my higher elfucation.
Use all your senses to perceive.
When we search for things, we say we are “looking for” them. Still, searching is about using all the senses, not just sight. There were some mornings when Kringle was hiding someplace where I just could not see him. I had to “see” him with my ears by listening to the clues and with my hands by feeling around on a shelf high above my head. Sometimes, I even had to use my sixth sense. One morning, Max completed his elf duty and then went to get his car serviced. When I got up and began roaming around the living room, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe Kringle didn’t want to get out of bed, either. I looked in his little velvet pouch and there he was, snug as a bug in a rug.
We all need smart friends.
My friends may be the best thing about me. As I have navigated the perilous waters of changing my life, my friends have kept me afloat. Keeping me afloat has involved a great deal of emotional support, but I’ve also needed all kinds of practical advice and assistance. Also, without regular reality checks, I would have descended down my own private rabbit hole long before now, never to be heard from again. Who has provided the practical advice and reality checks? My very smart friends, of course. Yes, Google is a wonderful resource, but it just can’t provide the warm fuzzies that my friends lavish extravagantly on me. Kringle reminded me of the benefits of smart friends. He’s pretty smart, too. He knows the difference between a smart aleck and a wise man.
Sometimes, you have to take a step back.
The answer can be right in front of our face, but our point of view may be preventing us from seeing it. One morning, Kringle was hiding effectively between the front legs of the welsh corgi figurine that sits under the vanity my father made me. I looked all over the vanity and all around it, but still could not see it. Even after Max gave me some clues that all but pointed me to the elf, I could not see him. Finally, I realized that perspective was making all the difference. If I stood directly in front of the corgi. Kringle was obscured by the barrel chest of the figurine. However, when I stood about four feet away, Kringle was in plain sight! I wonder how many other problems in my life I could solve if I just let myself wander a bit away from them until the answer is clear.
The best place to be is close to Jesus.
I don’t really need to say anything more. Even a plastic elf knows the best place to be is close to Jesus.
I just couldn’t help adding one more holiday post! I hope you don’t mind. I put away all the Christmas decorations and was a bit sad that all the ho-ho- holidays were done. What do you miss most about Christmas? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a jolly day!