Claire Jepsen
“C” — daughter of the broody hen

O ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

Of all the holidays, Christmas is my favorite. The others I let go so I can summon the strength, energy and motivation for the BIG One.  Our traditions bring much anticipation and joy, for both us as parents and our children.  I love the decorations, getting the tree out of the box and placed in the window, planning the menu, buying the gifts, stringing the kids along all month and seeing their faces light up on Christmas morning. Eating together and enjoying one another…and putting myself back to bed at 10:00 AM when it’s all over.

This year, though, has been more difficult than in the past. Each task has been monumental, like trudging through sand to get to the destination. I do it because it’s my job and I do want to, but I have wrestled.

The strain of Advent is big. The wondering if it’s all just a sham. Is it true? This Child can and will honestly bring hope, joy, peace? But what about____? And _____? And _____?  Really?! I don’t quite trust it. I don’t quite believe that He can do all of this. The world He was born into, really was worse than this? And here I am in my suburban living room, surrounded by my life, recognizing my privilege in so many ways feeling just a bit guilty for having these questions and doubts.

Sitting in the dark, remembering grace, silencing the voices, I am reminded:

Be still and know that I am God. 

Be still? Really? There’s so much to do, so many details. So much confusion and misunderstanding…and fear. So many hurting people. So much uncertainty.

Be still and know that I AM.

God, Omniscient, Personal, Human and Divine. More than Enough. Grace. Wholeness. Sufficient. Satisfying. Hope. Joy. Peace.

Be still and know.

Because God already IS, I am enough, known and loved beyond measure or comprehension. Because He is perfect, I never need to be. I have permission to let go of the fear in the form of expectations that I put on myself and assume others are putting upon me. I get to accept Hope, choose Joy, receive Peace.

Be Still.

Be restful, find pleasure, celebrate, eat, give and receive with grace, let go, be kind, love well. Be myself, and find joy in what is now, what is here. Be expecting the gifts of this present moment and be fully who I was made to be. Accept peace.

My prayer is we will trust in the generous provision and abundance of our loving God, Emmanuel, come to us. Let us love generously and receive the many gifts that our ours by virtue of this Baby born in the humblest of ways, tended to by a young mother and terrified father, lowly shepherds, assorted farm animals, and the angels. Let us know we are each loved regardless of our circumstances, our performance, or how we “feel”. Recognizing the immense beauty of gracious rest, we are invited to participate in the generosity of this time.

Lord, let me not forget this…the beauty of Your coming to our world as a Baby, in a dark, makeshift delivery room, a cave, for us all in all of our mess, muck, busy, dysfunction, longing, joys, hurts, and fears. The mess of the stable is the mess of our hearts.

He knows!