On Mondays at lunch, we fast and pray that God would raise up men and women to uniquely bear His image in increasingly whole and healthy ways that reflect God’s design and God’s love, and that marriages would be given to those who desire them.
Yesterday, while utterly forgetting to write my fastpray post, I was sitting on my couch in a reflective mood. I was staring at our towering Christmas tree and reviewing the year in my head. In some ways, so so good – I’m incredibly grateful to be in 2014 instead of in 2013! Heaps of blessings, big and small, dot the year. I am so glad for the big changes in my friends’ and family’s lives, and so aware of God’s generous provision for each of us through another year. At the end of this year, I feel both softer and bolder, calmer and more open to a wider vision of God’s work in my heart.
And yet I mulled the lack of “plot points” in this year…yes, it was full of good things but I can’t say that I have a better idea of where my story is going this December as compared to last December. Much has happened but nothing that seems particularly noteworthy at first glance. If my life is a story, this feels like a boring part where the reader might be tempted to skip to the next chapter! I know God is at work, but I still get grumpy when it doesn’t look like anything is happening on the inside or the outside.
Newsflash: That’s what Advent is all about. Waiting. Straining through the murkiness for the first glimmer of light. Faith that He who promised is faithful and will indeed come. Courage to believe that hundreds of years of silence had not derailed God’s glorious plan to redeem His people.
And He has come to us. In an unexpected way to humble parents and sketchy shepherds and pagan intellectuals. The pivot point of human history did not look at all like what was expected. Here is the fullness of God taking on human form and living, breathing, knowing, being known among His creation and His image-bearers. God wrote the Christmas story in a way we wouldn’t have guessed — and perhaps He’s still in the business of writing unexpected stories. Perhaps the same sovereign, all-knowing God of persistent love is still at work in the places where I would say I can’t see any plot points.
We read this confession of sin yesterday during our church service, and I think it sums up what I’m trying to say: my confession of the places where my unbelief in God’s desire or ability to work wonders collides with the reality of who God really is, especially as expressed at Christmas.
O God, we confess that our sense of expectation has been dulled. We have become reluctant to anticipate any wonders from your hand. We have become so content with the past that we make it the master of our lives. We have been lulled to sleep by our own limited view of your presence among us. O God, before sleep becomes our death, pardon and redeem us that we may avoid the judgment we are bringing on ourselves.
Give us eyes to see and ears to hear you as we rise from our stupor; stretch our souls that we may worship you in spirit and in truth. Amen.
In this season of Advent waiting, I pray that for that renewed sense of wonder in how God is writing His story with our stories and how He is lovingly, patiently leading us through our days.
By His Grace,