From an article originally posted December 22, 2013…
The fog is slowly fading, the stress lifting with each passing moment. My new medicine is giving me some crazy insomnia and hot flashes. I spend it all during the day, and I come to bed exhausted, but I am like a flaming inferno from the inside out. That’s no fun, but it’s my treatment plan, and I’ll take it.
The blur of our days caused Christmas to sneak up on us. Sure, we were doing the advent, singing the songs, but our minds could hardly take on anything other than getting through the next moment.
But it’s here, time with the kids, time to reconnect at a slower pace. We get to listen to one another, sit by the fire, watch movies and contemplate the sacred of this season. Yesterday, I went to the grocery with one of my girls. We made our purchases and on the way home she asked if we could sit down and have a coffee together. I really wanted to say no. I wanted to get home and make the million cookies I needed for today’s cookie exchange. Grace showed up and I pulled into the local coffee shop. I was even tickled to find out Starbucks has agave packets behind the counter if you ask for them.
This sweet girl of mine and I slowed. We talked about her dearest friend and the heartbreak she’s facing with her sweet brother possibly not making the return trip with her parents from the Congo. All of our hearts hurt, but none of us can imagine how badly they are hurting. It’s the pain behind the closed doors, the hurt only your closest people see. We on the outside hurt in our way, pray in desperation, and look for a miracle. It was good to slow down and listen to Ella, hear from the heart of her friend, stop the busied pace and listen. I know the frantic pace I tend toward is to avoid the pain of my heart, the pain of others hearts. It is so much easier to go, go, go! But the grace to slow down showed up in a coffee shop yesterday. We need to slow to see the graces, observe the miraculous, experience the redemption.
But the miracle has arrived. It’s in the lowly manger. But I want my miracle in the ways I want them. I want my friend to never have to turn over her baby back to the orphanage. I want their bonding to continue. So, how do we hunt for grace? Where do we see it present? I know it is there. Lord, give us your hope this morning. Give us your perspective. Lord, help us to see you this Christmas. Show us your love for the brokenhearted, messy, and devastated. Show up for the lonely, sick, broken, desperate, and afraid. I love the entrance of the angel in Luke. “Do not be afraid.” I confess, I am much afraid. Help us. I see the story too close, I fail to see your perspective. Lord redeem, restore, and help us be the community you desire us to be.
How do you struggle to see the sacred in the frenzied pace? Have you seen the grace to slow down? How are your fears quieted in your slow moments by the King that came to redeem? What are you praying for in your life that feels so much bigger than you, it causes you to tremble, keeps you desperate to hear the gentle angel telling you to not be afraid?