Sunday, December 1, 2013

I need Advent.

I need Advent so much.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, was absolutely lovely. Filled with joy on every side.

I started the day with a pumpkin pie latte at a coffee shop and FaceTiming with my family in Maryland.

I spent a cozy, wonderful day with the Fawvers, which in no way felt like being with "someone else's" family, but like I was with a much-beloved branch of mine (that I just only happened to find when I moved here).

 i love wassail!

I finished the evening with Brandon and Korie and their family, friends I adore and kids whose Halloween costumes I sewed and grandparents in whose home I am invited to weekly Sunday dinners.

Miss two-and-a-half wanted to have a "girl party" in the hallway.

All day, my phone rang and buzzed with love and thankfulness to and from friends in other places.

That night I felt achingly lonely.

Some context here: I had seven different invitations to do Thanksgiving with friends in town. Two invitations to spend the weekend with out-of-state friends within driving distance. My parents and siblings did not hold back their earnest declarations of loving me and missing me and wishing I was there.

I am grateful I felt lonely after a day when my presence being wanted could not possibly have been expressed any more. It made it easy to see the ridiculousness:
My heart told me, "You're not welcome. There is not a space special for you.", and my mind listed the obvious counterexamples and basically said, "You are an idiot. Stop."

The contrast told me, with gracious clarity:
I need God to love me.

All of the love anyone could want or ask for
is not enough to convince me, deep deep deep down,
that I am wanted enough,
or want-able enough,
or invited into a space just for me.

I spent most of this past week working on an Advent project. I am so so excited about it.

For days I have been immersed in all of my favorite quotes about Advent, and Christmas. First compiling them and then leafing through the dozens (literally) I had scrawled out on index cards, and then categorizing them, and then slowly copying them out.

Hours of the past week were filled with reading and re-reading words from the Christmas carols, from Madeleine L'Engle, Henri Nouwen, Bonhoeffer, from the Gospel of John, about Christmas:
about what it means.
About God coming to be with us.
Thank goodness.

Advent is a good, good season for my heart.

The simple message of the Incarnation: And the Word became flesh, and made His home among us:

it is the affirmation I need.

It is so good to know that God came.
It is so good to know He is with me.
It is so good to know He chose to be with us.

It is balm for a crazy heart that all the love in the world can't fill quite up.

I need the message of this season. I am so thankful it is here.

"The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul,
who know themselves to be poor and imperfect,
who look forward to something greater to come.
The Holy One Himself comes down to us,
God in the child in the manger.
God comes.
The Lord Jesus comes.
Christmas comes.
Christians rejoice!...
We are no longer alone.
God is with us."

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christmas 1928

1 comment:

joy.meeder said...

Emily, this post made my heart so happy!! It was so refreshing to hear this truth and to hear your heart. Love your photos, words and courage to put share them!

Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.