Advent Longing

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sung “O Holy Night,” or heard it on the radio or overhead in the mall. The words are ones I know so well that I rarely even think about them as I sing.

But this year, they are striking me anew. As someone who loves the Christmas season and all its festive cheer, but also reveres the holy anticipation of Advent, I wondered if maybe this time of year would be what I’ve been looking for lately–that elusive “God feeling.” Because despite the commercialism that is so easy to get swept up in, there is still something sacred about this season.

Photo Credit: Flickr User ItzaFineDay, Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Flickr User ItzaFineDay, Creative Commons

I can’t say that God has showed up in a boisterous, ruckus fashion, clanging his way back into my life with shouts of “I’m here! I’ve been here! Can’t you see me?” In still, small ways though, I have been noticing–and appreciating–his goodness, and the words of “O Holy Night” so beautifully express my, and the world’s, longing for more.

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

This year especially, it seems like the world is weary, on edge, waiting for all to be made right–and the song speaks to that as well. Because Jesus wasn’t born just to be a King and a Savior, though he’s those things too. He’s something much closer.

In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger…

Even in the midst of the messes of our lives and of this world, at this time of year, I’m reminded of why this faith I hold so imperfectly, sometimes bewilderingly, but dearly–matters. I’m reminded why Jesus matters. He matters because he brings hope to weariness and brokenness and trials. Because he is making all things new, and reminding me afresh of the truth and beauty of these words.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

p.s. Are there any Christmas carols that are striking you anew lately?

Advertisements

Still.

As a child attending Sunday school, each week we sang a short, simple song before the story.

Be still and know that I am God,

Be still and know that I am God,

Be still and know that I am God.

Each line had  a slightly different tune to it; enough so that even as I typed it out I found myself singing it softly, making sure I captured all the words. Simple words to a simple tune.

Little me frequently got told to please stop talking until the story was over. Others, sitting on multicolored carpet squares arranged in a vague semi-circle, fidgeted and squirmed, waiting to be released to activity time. Little fingers rubbed pennies together, eager for the offering to be taken.

“Being still” was not at the forefront of our minds.

 

Today, at 22, “being still” is still not at the forefront of my mind.

 

Though it’s becoming clear God thinks it could be.

Should be.

Needs to be.

 

For several days, the idea seems to have been attacking me.

     Rest.

     Rest.

     Rest.

     Peace.

     Peace.

     Peace.

     Still.

     Still. 

     Still.

It appeared in verses I flipped through.

Lyrics to the songs I listened to.

Conversations at Bible study.

Signs on coworkers’ desks.

Devotions at bedtime.

 

After a while it didn’t even phase me anymore; I came to expect it.

My instinct is to roll my eyes, to scoff at such an outdated idea. Be still. Ha.

As though accomplishments are achieved in stillness.

As though decisions are made in stillness.

As though questions are answered in stillness.

Except…they might be.

 

Which may be part of my problem.

I balk at stillness because it is unfamiliar.

Because I am not good at it.

Because I am busy.

Because it might be just what I need.

Excuses are ready at hand…papers to grade, books to be read, blog posts to be written.

 

But these excuses have not been thrown at me from all sides. Rest has. Peace has. Stillness has.

 

Be.

Still.

 

But…how?

 
Til next time…

~Brianna!~

 

p.s. Thoughts? Questions? Salutations? Feel free to leave ’em in the comments.

Living in the Eye

“The eye is a region of mostly calm weather found at the center of strong tropical cyclones…It is surrounded by the eyewall, a ring of towering thunderstorms where the most severe weather of a cyclone occurs.”  ~”Eye (cyclone)” on Wikipedia

Life is a mess. It is chaotic, busy, ugly, terrible…and lovely. Beautiful, fun, joyous, happy…and difficult.

All at the same time.

It is a storm. Things fly at us from all sides, taking all shapes, sizes, colors, and forms. To try to ignore the storm is silly. Although we may be able to do so for a while, the winds will eventually hit. Rain will splatter us and drip from our noses. Thunder will fill our ears and hearts.

Fortunately, there is the eye. The place in a center of a cyclone of “mostly calm weather.” Respite, solace, peace from the chaos…but within view of it at the same time.

How do we live life in the eye of the storm?

How do I learn to soak in the peace, all the while knowing that within reach there is chaos and pain and brokenness?

To allow myself to find solace and hope in a God who is greater than I, who will keep the storm from overwhelming me?

I’m not suggesting we should ignore the bad parts of the world. As a lover and follower of God, it is my calling TO care for those parts. But to dwell on them, let them suck me into their swirling vortex of pain and misery…I don’t think I’m called to live there either. There must be some sort of balance of learning to live in the comfort of knowing the storm is held at bay, while recognizing its existence.

So this is where I am. Knowing the eye exists, but somewhat unsure of how to get there. Of how to STAY there, and abide there. A phrase that has run through my head of late is only one example of my desire for the eye. “I long for peace to my toes.”

Thus go I, in search of the eye. Not in vain hope of its existence, because I know that it’s there…but in search of my path there, even if only for a brief time at first.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

P.S. (Yea, I used Wikipedia as a source. Woops.)