Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wondering at Christmas

For the last several months, I've had the pleasure and the privilege of connecting with a smaller circle of bloggers through the kind invitation of Seth Haines, over at his Collective blog. Anyone who subscribes to his blog by email is invited to write about their own journey in an email round-up each month. I gotta tell you, there is some wonderful stuff offered in that space. Seth and his wife Amber are both wonderful writers, showing up all over the place, at A Deeper Story and (in)Courage and I am grateful for their kindness to me each month. I went back in and read what I added for December and thought I'd put a piece of it out in this place, just for the heck of it. I liked what I wrote, and I don't always. So I offer it, with a few tweaks, as a very small Christmas gift to you tonight. This month, we were invited to write about our experience of Advent in 2011, and this was written before I made the trip south to pack things for my mom.
Wondering. That's what I'm doing a lot of this Advent.

In both senses of that word.

I am wondering how to help my failing mama make a move to assisted living. The physical part is easy - I'll travel 250 miles round trip this week, spend three days and clear out her cupboards and closets. Her apartment is small, her possessions few. I can do this part. The emotional part? That's a lot tougher. Finding that inner centered place of calm and quiet, speaking words of peace and comfort from that place, not giving in to either frustration or sorrow. That takes intentionality, that takes care. I'm praying both will appear in abundance over the next three weeks.

I am wondering about other family members who are facing into difficult decisions in weeks ahead, people I love and admire, some of them Jesus followers, some of them not.  How can I help? How can I listen?

I am wondering about how to more fully live into whatever 'retirement' means - to write good words, to listen well to directees and to the Spirit, to be present for my family, to carve out sufficient time and space for my own inner health.


I am also wondering at the immensity of God's love and the scandal of his Grand Plan.

I am wondering at the quietness of a starry night, at the obedience of gnarly shepherds and foreign kings, at the day-by-day, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other faith of a small-town carpenter and a teenaged girl, great with child.

I am wondering at the singing sky, the celestial company who ring out words of peace and comfort, the messengers of God who serve as sentinels for GLORY.

I am wondering how to receive this infant king, this One who comes in the way that each of us comes - bursting forth from the cocoon of pulsing blood and salty water into the harshness of cold air, pungent with the scent of life-on-earth.

How can I embrace this One who embraces me and all of life?

How can I say, 'Welcome,' and 'Thank you,' and 'Bless me, O Lord, for I have sinned' to One so small, so innocent, so vulnerable?

I am wondering if I can make space inside my heart-of-hearts for a baby's bed, clean and comfy, well-lit and protected, welcoming and warm. I do so want to do that, just that.

Even so, come Lord Jesus. Come.

Merry Christmas, everyone! May the WONDER of the Story brighten your day and the year ahead.