Tag Archives: christmas

The Tension of Advent

Image Source: CreationSwap

Image Source: CreationSwap

There is a soft, steady rain falling. It announced its arrival this afternoon with one dramatic rumble of thunder, I think just making sure it had my attention. And then it proceeded to carry on its melancholy serenade.

I look through the rivulets running down the window, the blurred sparkle of our Christmas lights giving the raindrops their own moment of brilliance up against the ever darkening shadows as daylight slowly takes its leave.

This is Advent for me. The gloom side by side with the glow. The heaviness mingled with the stillness. The momentary tension between breathing in and breathing out, letting go. The waiting and listening.

Sometimes the melancholy is stronger. The world breaks at the seams. Hateful words and hateful acts and how can we as humanity be so wretched to each other sometimes?

And sometimes hope is stronger. The world surprises with its wonders. Encouraging words and selfless acts and how can this wretched humanity be so beautiful sometimes?

I used to feel that I had to give in to one or the other, to choose. If I chose hope, was I ignoring the broken hearts? If I chose melancholy, was I discounting the power of redemption?

But I know better now. This is the tension we live with, so often experiencing beauty and pain in the same moments. This is the tension of waiting–the beautiful hope of a promise to be fulfilled and the despair of waiting for a promise that seems it will never be fulfilled.

I think this is why creation groans, bowing under the weight of all the glory and all the misery and all the unknown, waiting for light to dispel the darkness once and for all.

Meanwhile, I choose to see. I see the dreariness, but I also see the wonder. They sit together in the window. They sit together in me. So I light the candles and remind myself of His promise to come and make things right–in the world and in me.

The rain falls. The light dances. And I wait.

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Filed under Beauty, Hope

Why Shouldn’t I Begin Again?

a silver thread in the braid

edged the security of her familiar world

her lips moved

why shouldn’t I begin again

– elora nicole

Advent.  The season of waiting, hoping, expecting.

But maybe you are afraid.  Maybe it seems this is only a pause from the ordinary and then everything will go back to the way it has always been, the way it has become.  And perhaps it’s better this way.  Easier.  Do you really want to upset your entire existence?  Is it worth the trouble, the breaking, the re-shaping?

Do you see the silver threads woven in to your story?  The waiting of Advent is not merely about a pause.  Emmanuel did not come to be with us simply to create an interval where we could catch our breath before returning to the ordinary.  Majesty did not don the robes of humanity to give us a change of scenery, a break from the usual pace.

No, He has come to interrupt our existence.  He has come to restore what was lost.  He has come to transform the familiar into mystery and wonder.  He has come to make all things new.

This sacred pause is a catapult into uncharted territory, where the Divine collides with your story and redirects your path.

You have permission to begin again.

This post is based on a prompt from Story Sessions.  You will never find a more amazing community of women and writers.  Join us?

 

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Filed under Faith, Hope, Waiting

Dear December

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dear December:

You and I need to have a talk, here on the eve before you consume the world.  Pull up a chair.  I’ll pour us each a glass of wine, and we can sit by the twinkling lights of our Christmas tree, melancholy Wintersong in the background.

I have been thinking long and hard on what I’d like to say to you, yet I find myself still mostly at a loss.

What can I say?  I have always embraced you, arms and heart wide open, ready to push aside the dreariness and drink in your sparkle.  No matter how weary my heart may be, you come near, and I begin to find renewed faith in miracles.  Hope raises her head once more, in spite of anything else trying to smother her fire.

But for quite some time now, I cannot say you have returned the favor.  You smile, but it never reaches your eyes.  You reach out your hand, but you never pull me near.  I begin to suspect, if it were wholly up to you, you just might consider leaving me alone in the cold, but somehow my stubborn determination to cling to childlike wonder still wears you down.

It is tempting to give up the attempt to wrap you in a lingering embrace.  The fight in me is waning after years of one intense battle after another.  Hopes for miracles have been dashed again and again, and I have cried enough tears to float a small boat.  I am tired of hope and faith and clinging to promises that have yet to come true.

Still, do you see these blossoms peering beneath the snow?  It will take more than a blanket of your ice to smother the beauty my heart believes in.  You cannot snuff out life with your chilling whispers and piercing winds.   No, December, you underestimate the resilience of a fire rekindled in the midst of broken hearts and shattered dreams.  If sparks can blaze to life even while tears fall, your blizzards are outmatched already.

So dump your ice and sleet on us.  Blow those winds that bite our bones.  I will keep my course, one foot planted in front of the other, one more step and one more day.  Perhaps your frozen heart will thaw a little, and you will choose to be more kind.  We will be here, our candles lit to welcome your warmer side.

I do not know what to expect from you this year.  {this scares me slightly. A lot.}  But go on and come; maybe one starry, frosted night at a time, you and I can sit alone and resolve our differences.  Maybe you can learn to love me again.

*This post was inspired by a prompt from Story Sessions.

 

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Filed under Faith, Hope, Miracles, Waiting

When You Need Christmas Now

So I have these rules, these rituals.  And one of them involves not decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  The very next day.

Truthfully, I love this ritual.  I pull out my Christmas dishes late Thanksgiving night, make the table all festive.  I assemble the tree and fluff the branches, and I make sure Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby are ready to serenade us first thing.  I plan a special breakfast.  And then I fight for sleep all night, probably the way kids do before actual Christmas morning.  Now that I have children, I love this ritual even more – the excitement in their eyes and voices as they realize the Christmas season is here!!!  We eat together, and then we spend the day decorating the tree and transforming the entire place into a magical Christmas wonderland.  Every room gets something.  Really, I love this official welcoming of the season so, so much.

But this year, it has been different.  I was trying my best to hold out.  It didn’t work.

This past year has been so, so hard for our family.  And just a few months ago, things got even harder, heartbreaking.  Then all of a sudden, there was this surge of hope, faith, promise followed by . . . well, disappointment.  More waiting.  Hard questions and no answers.  I must confess, over the past couple of weeks, I could feel the discouragement wrapping itself around me tighter and tighter, choking off my breath, threatening to crush me.

And suddenly, I needed Christmas now.  Not in another week.  Certainly not in another month.  Now.  Right now.

I need the hope of promises long awaited finally and gloriously fulfilled.

I need the grace of a majestic King who chooses to reveal Himself first to lowly, humble shepherds – the least and the forgotten.

I need the miracle of people walking in darkness seeing a great light.

I need the reality of the Word – the abstract and intangible – being made flesh and living among us, close enough to touch.

So . . . our tree is up.  The kids picked out funny sparkly dinosaurs for their ornaments this year.

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And I smile every time I remember the very first Christmas I shared with my love, and the future seems to rise up in front of us again full of promise.

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Our family meals have an added sparkle.

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We’re spending more of our evenings, snuggled up, experiencing old and new holiday movies.

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And I didn’t go for a marathon day of decorating.  I am spreading it out, savoring, pulling items out little by little when we need a new dose of Christmas now.

Sometimes it’s ok to break the rules.

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Filed under Faith, Hope, Miracles, Waiting