“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” – Luke 2:14
The view from my sofa makes me squirm. Books strewn all over the floor in an attempt to organize them before throwing them on shelves; half-emptied moving boxes line the hall; a plethora of toys that the baby threw from his pack-n-play litter the floor; a pile of clean-ish clothes cover the coffee table. You get the idea. We’re still in transition and it’s wearing on me in this season of picture perfect homes and gingerbread houses with manicured gumdrop yards.
I thrive when things are in order, but this certainly not my present situation. The reality is, I feel as if I have not been able to be still inwardly or outwardly in months—and really I haven’t wanted to for fear of actually having to process the past year. So since this past summer, when we felt the door closing on our time in Delhi and we made the firm decision that God was moving us in a new direction, life has been in a constant flurry. And for me, a soul that recharges on quiet time spent alone, this constant flurry has left me feeling ragged and frayed.
In the midst of all the transition I have often asked God for more endurance to run this race; more energy to manage an around-the-world move; more grace towards others who haven’t walked in our shoes; more resources to pour out into the things we feel God has given us to do; more patience as a wife and mother as we all try to transition well. More of everything to keep up with this harried life I live, because this is what I thought I needed to keep moving forward during this busy time of life and certainly the very busy season of Christmas.
But over the past few days I’ve pondered what this post would look like; what is true in my life right now and what God might be whispering to me in my few quiet moments during the day while I’m cradling my own little baby boy while he falls asleep. Today it struck me that my idea of the perfect Christmas was actually keeping me from full joy and peace. I have been so focused on life's imperfections I can't appreciate the simple beauty of the season.
And I consider that, perhaps it’s not more energy or order I need, but more of Him. That instead of lamenting the lack of perfection in my world, I need to abide in the Perfect One that came in the stillness of that dark night in Bethlehem.
Today has so many expectations placed upon it and I am as guilty of this as anyone of doing this. I want every casserole, conversation and decoration to be exactly as it should be. But how far from the first Christmas these thoughts take me and leave me exasperated when events don’t live up to expectations.
Because it’s precisely because life here is not perfect, that Jesus came—He is the perfection the world groans for and needs desperately. He came as the baby that we celebrate today, who grew into the man who was and is our Healer, our Hope and our Perfect Saviour.
So today as you gather to celebrate in homes with Auntie’s fruit cake and chai, it’s my sincere hope that you may each find a still moment to quiet your heart and reflect on the gift this day truly is to each of us and that Christ might fill you with the joy, peace and hope you need this very minute.
In The Bleak Midwinter
by Christina Georgina Rossetti
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastfed of milk, and a manger full of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart
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