With just a few minutes between lunch (it involved chips and queso, duh) and dropping off cookies for a friend, I stopped to grab a quick cup of coffee.
I sat down in one of the comfy chairs in the back corner, keeping an eye on the time, and opened the TimeHop app.
Most days the photos and words from years gone by make me smile, thank God for changing hairstyles, or remember just how much He’s done in my life. Every once in a while something there stings, reminding me of changes I wouldn’t have chosen.
This time I cried.
Under the “1 Year Ago” banner, an Instagram image and caption appeared. It was appropriate last year, but somehow it seems like it was written for 2016 just as much as 2015.
This week has been rough times. In my life, in the lives of many, in our country, around the world… everywhere. And it seems we’re all saying, “Jesus, come quickly.” But I just keep wondering, if we’re being honest, if He sometimes whispers these words:
“I have come for you and I will come again. Advent, my loves. Advent. In what feels like an in between, when all seems upside down and spinning out of control, I am still in control and I am with you. I will be a sure and a safe place, a rock for you to lean on. I have come and I will come again, but I am with you in this moment. My name is Emmanuel. I sent myself; the Holy Spirit is at your side and right inside. I will come for you, but right now I long to love you and love through you. Will you keep on walking in the mess and continue to share the Message?”
Maybe that’s wrong. Maybe it isn’t theologically sound. Maybe it doesn’t even make sense. But in a world that so very often doesn’t make much sense to me, when relationships crumble and we worship time and possessions, when Sabbath is just a word and we’re too busy climbing ladders, I just wonder sometimes if we’ve gotten so loud that we don’t hear His gentle whisper. He never left. Even when there is silence, He is there. But maybe we’re so busy rushing we don’t stop to hear.
Perhaps this is why when my world gets a bit too loud or when things are topsy-turvy, the last place I want to be is online. I shut it off and walk away, not because I have nothing to say because listen, I have all the thoughts… but because I must go to Him first with my words and listen for His. I want to say less in this space but when I do speak, I want it to be truthful and honest, real and genuine, His words and not my own. Jesus, we’re quieting. We’re shutting down. We’re listening. We’re here. Thank You for being here with us, the rock Emmanuel.
Last week someone knocked on our front door and I immediately yelled “coming!” My mind was still on an Advent reading from the previous night, and so I started laughing at my own self as I walked the few steps from the living room to the entryway.
It was immediate, the word that most made sense, the thought that took a split second to move from my mind to my mouth. With no hesitation, I spoke and stood up and started moving to open the door for the one who was waiting.
Didn’t He do the same?
Didn’t He wrap Himself in flesh, set aside wonders and powers we can’t begin to wrap our minds around, so that He could humbly come for us as a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger? He came. He entered in. He stood with and walked beside and loved fully and eventually made His way to a cross. He died my death and then they took Him down, wrapped Him up, and placed Him in an empty tomb.
A baby changed everything.
But the miracle of Christmas isn’t that the baby came. It’s that the baby grew up and took our place, died and then rose again. The miracle of Christmas is tied to an Easter morning.
And still, He is coming again.
We’re waiting and hoping and longing and knocking on the door, but He’s right there. Do you hear Him?
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