On Mondays, we pray and fast for lunch or longer for women to be softened–trusting God to work in their lives, for men to be emboldened to walk in to relationships, and for God to give the gift of marriage to those who desire it.
The world is especially filled with trite sayings from the fourth Thursday in November until at least the second Tuesday January. It’s the most “wonderful” time of the year. Really? Having fake Christmas cheer shoved in my face is indeed wonderful. Oh, it is hard to be single at this time of year. Yes, and I’m completely unable to enjoy red and green ribbon and icing sugar cookies. Not to mention the fact that the other eleven months of the year are a complete cakewalk. For most of us, and definitely for me, Christmas is both wonderful and difficult.
Although this year, I don’t feel especially burdened by being the lone lass at the party, there have been times in the past and fleeting moments this year during the merriment, the music, lights, and the gatherings that I feel like I’m metaphorically a stranger in the dark, outside the world of relationships, while married people are laughing together, in warm well-lit rooms.
I broke one of my cardinal rules this year. I listened to Christmas before Thanksgiving. I felt like I entered a new room–I am the Christmas music rebel. (I know. Some of you are probably saying, “please, I start listening in July.”)
After getting a few jabs and scratches digging through the passenger-side seat pocket, I found my Getty’s Christmas album. I popped it in the CD player, and the Irish fiddle immediately caused involuntary rhythmic finger twitching. When the fiddle died away, the Getty’s children’s Christmas carol started playing. The delicate melody and simple lyrics brought me to tears.
Jesus, joy of the highest heaven,
Born as a little baby
Under a wondrous star.
Like us, crying he takes His first breath
Held by His mother, helpless
Close to her beating heart.
Jesus, laid in a lowly manger,
Facing a world of dangers,
Come to turn me a stranger
Into a child of God.
Jesus, King of the highest heaven
Learning to take His first steps,
That He might bring us life.
Like us, knowing our smiles and sorrows,
He showed the way to follow,
A way that is true and right.
Jesus, take away every darkness,
Steady my simple footsteps
That I might in your goodness
Live as a child of God.
As I listened, I was reminded of how afraid I was of the dark as a child, and even as an adult, still afraid. I may not need a physical nightlight anymore, but it’s hard to not feel like being single means that you’re a stranger–left in the dark relationally. I’m afraid of being unknown and alone.
When I choked up over those lyrics, I wasn’t feeling particularly sad about anything. I was thrilled to find my CD and have my Irish Christmas tunes jamming loudly. (Can penny whistles jam?) But, the Holy Spirit used a simple children’s song to remind me–in a carefree moment–exactly what Jesus did by coming at Christmas. Jesus didn’t stay where it was comfortable.
Jesus, the joy of the highest heaven, stepped out of the brightest light, the warmest fellowship, the sweetest company to illuminate the world and to bring strangers in from afar. Jesus came to the earth, welcomed me in when I was a stranger and an enemy of God, and made good on His promise to be Immanuel once again. The magnitude of His mission is astounding. And, we’re only starting to see His power to right the wrongs and to “take away every darkness” and to make all things beautiful in His time.
Blessings on you this Advent season.