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.