Monday, December 5, 2011

advent.


I decorated this weekend.

Just a tree. Our stockings. Meaningful words draped across the ceiling, a la katiedid. And twinkle lights. Lots and lots of twinkle lights.

This year, I don't have a lot of parties to go to. I hosted my way through the month of November, and I need a break. I want to be quiet this season, and I can feel my soul being pulled in all kinds of directions, trying to steal that peace from me.

I am holding on with all my might.

Last night, Jordan and I attended the advent lessons and carols service at a local Anglican church. It is one of our favorite traditions, to go and sit quietly as we listen to the story of the Christ, how he came so humbly and so softly to a world that didn't even know they needed him.

I normally find myself identifying with Mary, waiting in anticipation for a child king.

This year, though, I noticed how God involved all of creation -- not just the young virgin girl -- in the coming of the Christ.

How he invited dirty shepherds and wealthy kings and messy farm animals and glowing stars to be present at the incarnation, at the beginning of the Word.

We make him so much smaller, I think, keeping him in the walls of our church buildings and refusing to admit that maybe, just maybe, the creator of the entire universe in concerned and consumed with everything and everyone he created: from the tiny inchworm to the stormy seas to the ruler of the free world. We are all a part of the Christmas story, the salvation story; he is in love with us all.

I make him so, so small, and I despise it.

I hate how my focus can be captured by an argument over semantics, by a broken church body, by enemies and hurts and pains and health scares and minor and major crises.

He is bigger than it all.

As I sat in that hard, wooden church pew, kneeling and standing and reciting prayers, I breathed in his bigness. I want him to know that I know.

I know he is big and powerful and mighty, and yet...

He chose to start small.

In a tiny stable, with a helpless baby.

My God chose to come to earth that way, and it both comforts me and breaks my heart.

I want to know his bigness and smallness, and in this season, I am desperately trying.

The twinkling lights and the voices of angels singing praise? These are the things that help.

8 comments:

Relevant Notes Blog said...

I love the idea of keeping a quiet and peaceful advent. It is so important - but so hard to focus on with all of the holiday craziness!

monster cakes said...

Wow I needed to read this. This was so beautiful Annie. Thank you.

ps. As for San Fran bites, we only ate at In-N-Out! haha Oh the shame... I'll ask my mother in law for recommendations. : )

Jennifer said...

"I make him so, so small, and I despise it." - I know this feeling all too well! I pray that I make much of Christ this Christmas!

Laken said...

I do the same - I keep God in a tiny box, there when I need him. But I don't let him be the biggest thing in my life.

I love your contrast of his bigness and smallness - and I think it's so true and right on and exactly what I needed to read.

Kristin @ The Chronicles of Kristin said...

Beautifully said. May we all see Him just as He is this season.

Annie said...

I hate that I try to make God smaller than He is. Because even when He came small, He came on His terms - not mine. And I think that's such a sign of His humility, that the omnipotent God of the universe became a baby, and couldn't do anything for Himself.

I've been thinking about pride and humility a lot today and I was actually thinking of emailing you my thoughts about it, and I very likely still will. I just think that in Advent, in this season of quiet and peace, we're in a unique situation to learn a lot about humility. I think Christmas is really the pinnacle of the upside-down kingdom over which our God presides: when the greatest of all becomes small, when a tiny baby born in the backwoods of the Roman Empire is the One who redeems the world.

Denise said...

this is a very busy time in our lives. too busy. not because of christmas but because of everything else pressing us. instead of trying to make Jesus big this christmas (as if i could) like i have attempted every other christmas, this christmas the Spirit is giving me permission (and i'm sure He always has) to just be. be present. be still. He's got christmas and all the details covered. hmmm.

Kelly Sauer said...

Oh I am holding my breath, waiting for Him to answer your prayer, to fill your desire. You wake mine again...