Follow me

*A note before you read this. After doing an audit of my blog in 2022, I have decided to leave content that speaks to the Christian I was at the time this was written. I no longer identify as Christian (and haven’t for a very long time.) I chose to leave these posts because it is who I was then and it is important to me to be honest and true with every iteration and evolution of self that I experience. I may decide to add comments to the end of posts like this as well

By the way things went (failed) it’s obvious my Advent does not resemble the Advent of so many. Or they’re lying.

Accusations aside.

Bringing the wide-angle lens in very, very tight. Christmas and the anticipation of celebrating the birth of our Savior is shared throughout Christendom, moving in, Advent is recognized by most liturgical dominations (and a few non-liturgicals) and bringing that lens in super tight–there’s me–a denomination mutt. Raised Catholic, became atheist, Independent Baptist, Southern Baptist and now? Something. I love Jesus and I drink a little.

Christmas fireplace2

At the beginning of this Advent season, I tried (again) and failed. Such good intentions. But it didn’t pan out. I’d envisioned a lovely time of reflection. A time to focus my heart on Christ. A quiet time.

Christmas nativity

One thing after another happened. Continual failure on my part to create this quiet anticipation.

And then God spoke to me. Quietly. In my heart.

He reminded that Mary rode on a donkey (a donkey!) to Bethlehem while she was full with the Christ child. Stretched taught. Joints aching. Ankles swelling. Cervix dilating. She sat on a donkey. Bouncing. For days.

Not much quiet contemplation.

Her water broke. She had contractions. No pain meds, no epidural, no doctor or midwife, no help breathing, no pool of hot water to relax her tired body, her sore body.  Was there even another woman there with her?  Someone to hold her hand and tell her it would be alright?  She’d never even had sex and now the Messiah’s head was crowning. She was screaming. She had to have been screaming.

Christmas night

God also reminded me of who I am.  (His)  and what my purpose is (Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.)

The Jews in the time that Jesus walked this earth believed the Messiah would come. They believed he’d come their way. And do what they wanted him to do. They certainly didn’t think he’d come to an unwed, screaming young woman in a stable.

Am I to expect, then, that Advent will happen my way? That the Advent I have conjured in my head is the Advent of the Messiah?

Christmas Fireplace

God asked me hard questions. Why are you still holding on? Haven’t you read of David’s wife Bathsheba and the death of their son? Get up. Wash yourself. Eat. Anoint yourself.

God whispered to me to go and show them who I AM.

Was anyone doing this for me, Lord, when I needed it?

Am I not enough for you, child?

my heart sinks. again. for this is not the first time this question has been asked of me.

The servant who knows what his master wants and ignores it, or insolently does whatever he pleases, will be thoroughly thrashed. But if he does a poor job through ignorance, he’ll get off with a slap on the hand. Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!

here i am, Lord, send me. did i not say that years ago? like peter, though, he loves me. pours his grace over me. trusts me. and then he whispered this to me.

Follow me.

8 thoughts on “Follow me”

  1. You may have “failed” in your intentions for Advent, but God succeeded in speaking to others (me) through this. For reasons only He knows, I needed to read that today. Merry Christmas, and God be with you.

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  2. “God also reminded me of who I am. (His) and what my purpose is (Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself.)”
    The timing is perfect. I opened this in another browser tab earlier, but did not have time to read it then.
    I did now, after yet another failed Advent reading. Nearly in tears – mine, of course.

    Our Advent has never been perfect. It has always been haphazard, interrupted, but mostly good. I’ve believed that what was important was that we were taking time to do it, to focus, to retell the story of Christ and try to focus, at least a little, on that.

    This year… what the heck happened this year? This year the boy was older? This year the boy was louder? This year the boy fights more with his sisters? All of these at least. Focus was our biggest enemy. Distraction our biggest invader. Interruption incessantly intervening. Frustration ALWAYS following. This evening capped off with me praying, eyes closed, sensing movement and peeking to see the two younger ones creeping close towards the candles and elbowing in front of each other to be the first to blow out the candles. Not only not listening to our closing prayer but being selfish and fighting for first. (Again. It’s always a fight to be first around here.) I stopped mid-prayer, mid-sentence, with “let this really soak into our hearts and let us learn” hanging on the tip of my tongue. Instead: A flat “Amen.” And a “Go to bed.” How can we do something special like this when there’s not even enough respect and obedience to listen and be quiet for five minutes? =(

    All of our Advent and Jesse tree readings have overall been very disappointing because they’ve all gone the same way, spotlighting a glaring deficiency of respect. If I were to be honest, I would not be able to deny that I haven’t been like a distracted child myself. I can’t say that I’ve done any better at paying attention to God lately. Snippets of attention interspersed with plenty of distraction. Is this how God feels? What a sobering thought.

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  3. And I realize that all sounds very sad and right now yes, I am very disappointed. But I know that it won’t last long and God is quick to restore Joy, and tomorrow is a new day (and a very special day at that.) Merry Christmas, Michelle!

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  4. I felt so disappointed until I realized I was already doing what he asked of me, without *my* idea of what Advent should look like.

    (((hugs)))

    (you made me cry, in a good way)

    Merry Christmas sweetie. I’m so glad we know each other.

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  5. Ok, I feel like a follow up is in order.

    This morning, my girls were awake by 7am and the boy a few minutes after.
    They all wanted to dive in to the stockings but I asked them to wait AND THEY DID. We lit the Advent candles and put baby Jesus in the manger.
    We pulled out our 3 wise men gifts and I asked them to be patient and wait for instructions AND THEY DID.
    We opened them one at a time as I said a few words in between.
    And then I prayed and asked them to be quiet and listen AND THEY DID.

    And THEN we dug into Christmas stockings. It was so nice! So completely different from last night. It was a Christmas blessing and you BETTER BELIEVE I TOTALLY THANKED GOD FOR IT. It still wasn’t perfect and it wasn’t like that makes it holier or better.. but it was just a few minutes that I wanted and for the first time ever it worked. It made for a great start to the day. =)

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  6. Michelle, this has to be the best, more real description of Advent, both in how it must have been back then and in how we all feel as we try to get it “right” without realizing God’s way is right, and it may not be pretty or wrapped up with shiny paper, but in the end, it’s always perfect. No one likes to think of the screaming and the mess… people only want to think of the star and the camels, lol. But life is beautiful, and life brings with it a placenta. And pain, and joy unimaginable. (yea, OK, I’m a guy, so it’s easy for me to romanticize after-birth, lol). Anyway, before I get off-topic, this was perfect. It was real. And it will stay with me a long time, and it was just as beautiful as the songs they sing at Midnight Mass. Moreso, perhaps.

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