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It’s Christmastime. Noel. Peace on Earth, good will to all. Light has come, and is in us and around us and through us if we just turn inwards, upwards and outwards and notice. Light is Come. Enjoy this piece of my inward, upward and outward journey toward Light.
David and Joseph
Joseph was royalty.
He had the blood of kings in his veins.
A chosen king.
As improbable David’s anointing
Was Joseph becoming the Father of the King of Kings.
Carpenters and shepherds. Shepherds and carpenters. Blue collar workers with royalty in their veins because the God of the universe knew
Could achieve true Greatness with their own strength
could earn status in God’s kingdom without His secret ways, His blessings, His miracles
No one is wise enough, powerful enough, perfect enough
To end up the King of Israel
Or the unintended Father to the King
moved some impossible
parts and pieces together
And blew divinity into the line of David. Knocked him to His knees
And to Joseph
He Whispered a similar task
To be the shepherd to the king of kings
David fell, Joseph nodded, God smiled
and a King was born.
I’m in a quandary this Christmas season. We’ve been through the most difficult transition year of our married lives, our girls have said goodbye to all of their childhood friends, we sat in a room with a dozen friends we raised our babies with and sobbed. Gut wrenching, heart aching, sobs. I’ve never cried harder in my life than that evening, saying goodbye to lifelong friends.
In May we made the move from Granger, In. to Shawnee, Ks. The best, but most difficult family decision we’ve ever made. I’ve felt like an ocean has been moving under my feet since we landed, trying to get acclimated myself, get my girls acclimated, figuring out how to fix a new bathtub with new problems, how to keep the hot sun from killing my plants, and all that normal stuff.
And then in September, my precious Uncle died. How do I tell my aunt, who spent years of her life dedicated to him, to Jesus, to their children…translating the bible into unwritten languages, whom she loved…how do I tell her to be merry this christmas?
In November, my cousin died. He was too young. Only 5 years older than me. The thought of losing him does not ring true with “Merry and Bright” or a cup of Christmas cheer.
A mamma lost not one, but three babies, triplets, born too early this week. They suffered through the trauma of the funeral of the first two, held out hope for the third. He died. Now another funeral.
The news…the news. I cannot even bare to watch it with my children asking questions about atrocities committed against children their own ages. I cannot even watch the news alone.
But I can walk in the darkness of this Advent hour. I can walk in peace, with lots and lots of tears, but with peace. Knowing my Savior was born. He came to save a fool like me. He came to abolish slavery, to set the prisoners free. He came to love. He came to forgive. To teach us to love and forgive by what He did for us. Born humbly. Walked through His ordinary days like an ordinary guy, but holy. Perfect. Full of love. Never casting the poor or needy aside if they did not match up with His holy critera for those worthy of His time. He walked slowly. He touched. He held. He healed. He lifted heads. He gave new names. He brought joy. He brought mystery. He brought laughter. He brought light. He embraced the unembraceable.
He was the light. And He is. He is the lifter of our heads, the light in our darkness. Forever.
Jesus is our hope in a very dark place.
I made this little video as a prayer of thanks to God-for never giving up on me, for always leading me in the right way when I don’t really want to be led, for being a good, good God.
The song is an old hymn sung by Rich Mullins, the photos are mine.
Most of us know or have heard reference at some point in our lives to Psalm 23. Bits and pieces come to us when we are feeling afraid, alone, or like we are being attacked by alien spaceships in War of the Worlds. Ha–I am not joking that part of my subconscious sees the Priest in the old War of the Worlds movie walking toward the evil-eyed spaceship quoting the 23rd psalm. Then he gets zapped and turns to dust. It scared me to death as a kid. I always wondered why he was not using his brain and kept walking toward the ship instead of away. At that point in the movie, I think the behavior of the aliens pretty consistently proved they were bad guys…so, while all of you are reading through psalm 23 with floating streams and quiet places and vivid images of gentle shepherds leading their sheep through grassy knolls, I’m thinking about the poor priest who got turned to dust.
I’m thinking that alien space ships were not on King David’s radar when he wrote his prayer to God, but maybe something like it. A deeply distressing time that brought him to his knees, seeking the comfort his true Shepherd could bring.
So, however we get to Psalm 23 and whatever makes us think about it, the truth is the same. God, our good, good God, will lead us in quiet places and walk with us in silence while the peace of the streams bring life back into our weary souls. Nowhere in Psalm 23 does it say “Then God shouted at me because I’ve been such an idiot”, or “God threw me into the quiet stream and held my head under until I gurggled” I give up!”
What this Psalm DOES say, all our own vivid imagery and associations with this familiar passage aside, is:
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Take a deep breath, breath in the Hope of a loving God who will walk quietly with you wherever you are on your path. Know He’s with you. Breathe and Hope.
*Grace and Peace*