This morning I thought I’d get up and try to write a little reflecting my Advent journal. I’m getting beautiful cards from family and friends with (as we say it here in NY), “How you doin’?” penciled in the margin. I’d love to be able to say back in person, “Fine, and you?”
Frankly, my advent journey thus far has not always been “fine.” It’s been hard, much harder than I imagined it could be. Having admitted that, I must also hurry on to say that with God’s help, it is getting lighter and brighter as we go along. I did not want this season to start, but now that we’re well on our way through it, I am deeply thankful for very special discoveries along the way.
Chasing the Light…
I imagine myself like the Wisemen following the Star of the Child-King through desert spaces from oasis to oasis, village to village. The thing I’ve clung to is that the Wisemen got their bearing at night – the only time when the Star could be seen.
So, in the dark depths of missing Julia terribly, in the desert moments of wondering if the rhythm of my life has any meaning, I’ve been “chasing the light” with candles, good music, and turning the Christmas lights on. I’ve been receiving brilliant light from my daughter Jennifer, Dirk, my grandsons, and my sister Ruth. My eyes are opening wide again to God’s gifts – set against the deep darkness of the night and the desert spaces of life without Julia. The cards show love, the texts and FB messages give hugs. There IS magic in the air!
The truth I’m discovering in every oasis created in stillness, in lights and candles and joyous times with family is that in whatever circumstance life drops me, God is already there, and seeking Him, I find Him.
The Great Stillness…
Speaking as reverently as I can, I’ve felt God’s smile when I’ve addressed Him as “The Great Stillness” – The Great Stillness filling the great emptiness of my heart and home. As the Wisemen journeyed through dark and desolate spaces, with gifts of inspiration and fellowship along the way, I’m sure God’s greatness and his immense and enduring love invaded their quietness as well.
There are many reasons God has given me to keep my head up and find joy in things this season. I believe He’s answering my prayer to make this season without Julia a new thing, while at the same time celebrating her buoyant enthusiasm for Christmas.
How I praise God for my family and friends! So many have expressed understanding and prayer in beautiful ways. As I told Jennifer and her household recently, I believe they have literally saved me from a dismal and lonely Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Inspiration for the journey…
Casting Crowns – Somewhere In Your Silent Night (Official Lyric Video)
Brightest and Best (Official Music Video) – Keith & Kristyn Getty, Ricky Skaggs
“Jesus, I confess that there is often too much going on around me, distracting me from the abundant life You offer me and all your people. In this season, guide me to the humble simplicity that marked Your birth, the first Christmas. Give me eyes to see the ways that I can simplify my life; so that I may more intentionally fix my eyes on You and all that You have for me.
“Jesus, I want to have the posture of the wise men. I want my heart to be open to You. I want to remember to worship You because You are good and because You came to be with us as a human baby to show us Love. I want to give my best to You, and I want to be open to the new ways that You are leading me.
“Thank You for this season and the ways it reminds me to un-hurry and fix my eyes on You, Jesus.
“Amen.”This prayer in the YouVersion Bible reading plan called “Postures of Advent: A Daily Christmas Devotional, devotional’s Day 6,” seemed especially appropriate for me. It captures a lot of what I’ve been praying and thinking over the last couple weeks.