Thursday, December 24, 2015

Still Waiting

A hush falls over the mountain house as heaven spreads a blanket of snow in big fluttering flakes. The hot tub steams, and warm feet make footprints in freshly fallen snow, wrapped in fluffy white towels and hurrying inside. The whole family cuddles on the sectional in front of the television, watching Santa Clause 3 and muting the age-inappropriate commercials. The sparse tree twinkles with colorful lights and a few pretty ornaments, while a fire flickers in the stone-clad fireplace. I sip eggnog and stare mesmerized out the window as the pine trees boughs grow heavy under the weight of snow.
All the kids finally asleep, I lay in bed and think, next year we will make Christmas more intentional. The irony, of course, is that the evening neared picture-perfect, the Christmas of postcards and movies. But somehow something was missing. Jesus, probably. Because I cannot seem to conjure true Christmas cheer even when circumstances lean favorable.

We went to see Santa this year and he asked my kids whose birthday it was on Christmas. Umm, Mommy, they answered hesitantly, while I flushed red with embarrassment. We have read approximately seven days of our advent book. I have spent little time preparing my children or myself to recognize the “true meaning of Christmas.” I fear we’ve missed it in the hubbub of activities and holiday festivities. I am sad more often than merry.
The world feels heavy, and my heart follows suit.

Sometimes hope feels far off, and I am tired of waiting. Advent seems unending, like Jesus is overdue and false labor pains stretch my patience. I know lonely, even in a room full of people. Sometime holidays loom quiet and solitary, or Christmas demands celebration even without a loved one for the first time.
I have been thinking about those who waited for a messiah so long ago. The ones who counted hours and months with longing for the rescuer of their people. And I realized today that even when Jesus was born, they were still waiting. They kept waiting, kept hoping, without realizing that Hope had come to live with them. They were looking for something different, something bigger, something more monumental and spectacular perhaps. A rescuer who raised an army and came with fire, instead of tiny baby fists and dirty strips of cloth lining a feeding trough in a stable.

Because here’s the thing: I don't want to be one who’s still waiting. Who tries to conjure a Christmas that rescues like a conquering army. I don't want to miss Jesus because He doesn't look like I think He should.

So instead of fumbling to make Christmas the thing I want or need it to be, I’m taking the time to let it be exactly what it is. An ordinary day in the midst of a busy life in which I encounter the extraordinary. Christ come down right into the middle of our mess. Not how we expect, necessarily, but exactly how we need.


  1. Yes. this. Merry Christmas, Stanleys.

  2. Love your beautiful gift. So grateful to learn from you. Miss you.


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