It’s in the little quiet places where God reaches, gently nudging my soul toward peace, that I notice Him. Tender and kind, reminding me I am enough. Touching my worry and speaking provision. Noticing my loneliness and whispering I am your father and mother and sister and brother. Seeing my lost-ness and telling me remember my sheep? I go after the one.
It’s Christmas time and I pause to awe at our house lights. From 100 year old windows they drip to sparkle the view of those that make their way up our hill, in the middle of a hurried day. And in it God waves hello. He says. remember me? remember the season; I bring you good tidings of comfort and joy. And it shows up through the hands of decorating on ladders. Adults hauling trees home. All of us joining in traditions of old to remember with intention that this is what we do, and this is good.
How neat that across the world the celebrations begin of wreaths in windows and end with advent candles lit in the dead of winter. Songs sing I’ll be home for Christmas to remind us its the time for coming home. There is a coming home in our hearts that align with ever greens and candy canes minted. This remembering settles deep in our hearts. It gives us the permission to say Merry Christmas!
And, to think about each other. Who they are in our lives and what would bring them joy. So we budget and buy and wrap these love gifts up with the sweetest intentions. A gift to give, a gift that says I was thinking of you. And isn’t that truly the gift? To be seen. To be known.
Did God in all his glory know this in the story, this would be our true ache? And that’s why he came in baby form to the dirtiest dung filled caves. Born to a carpenter man who knew what it meant to build a sturdy foundation. To a young girl -so filled with devotion that from this miracle pregnancy she did not waver. This couple, now known and beloved for all of eternity, would become our bridge to heaven. And in revealing his coming to the shepherds in the fields, the ones that sleep with sheep…you spoke to them first. Did he know we would need to see him speaking to people, just like us? Their dirty hands and tired bodies rejoiced with angels among the stars.
O come to us in our fields, in our late night, dear Lord. Show us the starlit angels that are singing. Help us when we are birthing in the darkest of caves, reveal to us the treasure from the pain. And when we are trusting a notion of you to travel far…let your north star shine bright. In you, are our prayers. In you, our gold, myrrh and frankincense wrapped up. In you, the oil anointed, in you is the beauty from ashes. In you our hopes hang from tree branches.
And your love does not fall short, neither your forgiveness. If we take the gift presented, no strings attached and unwrap it to find that you were our friend all along. You, smiling big. Your arms open for a giant hug like a brother to a little sister, all wrapped up in knowing. A proud pop. You have been cheering us on! A compassionate mother you have carried us in our most injured hour. For the first time we see it was YOUR hand outstretched. Our heads cock back in belly laughter and tears come. We are here with you. And it’s always been this way, we just didn’t know.
We hadn’t opened the gift all the way. It was still wrapped in tissue of doubt and we could only sense goodness. We were also afraid. Afraid to be disappointed. Now, it’s unveiled. And this unbridled witness- a lit candle in an earth so deep. Now we are many lit candles across the universe surrendering to love. A love that fills up an offering to others, looking like stars.
This is why we Christmas. This is the advent story. The story you have been writing all along, it rests here. You remind us to put down the Martha lists and sit at your feet. You remind us of the importance of being. You remind us when we gaze upon a put together creche. Mary gazing at her baby. Us, gazing at the scene of long ago. It starts from this Sabbath rest where everything stops, work and school…everything except togetherness.
The solace of dark winters lead us to look for the North Star, to find your gift and bring you ours. Our ragged hearts and imperfect lives, yes we bring them manger side. You take them and you welcome us. And with our hope in another advent, we whisper happy birthday to the wind.