Thank you, Lord, for these quiet unnoticed-by-the-world moments. For this time before the sun has come up and the darkness is pierced only by the three candles I have lit on the advent wreath. Before the kids begin arriving today (and little Tessa who just learned to pull herself up to a standing position) I bask in the quiet and sit in your Presence. It’s like the world stands still for just a moment. The pressures of obligations and expectations (outwardly and inwardly imposed) are non-existent. I pray for my family. I pray for things like stable jobs, healthy relationships, faithful friends, good health and a myriad of other things. I pray a sort-of-general “blessing” on them not being able to artiulate the longing I feel. Then I realize what I really I want…is for them to be okay. I want things to go well for them so they will be okay. I don’t want them to have to experience broken relationships or debilitating health issues or suffocating financial pressures so they don’t live from a place of brokenness or woundedness. It could be asking too much in this world. And that scares me.
It is then I come to understand in greater measure the reason for Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-20 I new light:
“I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
The only secure place for us to live from is our own Belovedness in Christ. This is not just a good saying. It must become the reality of our lives if we want to thrive and live abundantly in this hurtful world. If we are standing on anything else (job, relationship, health, etc.) for our sense of identity or security we are only well if those things are going well. There has to be a deeper place from which we live that is not dependant on the sway of life. So this is what I pray: that they…and you and me…would live with both feet firmly planted on God’s love; that we would take in all the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love for us; that we could actually experience…in the deepest part of our being… its breadth and depth. And come to live full lives (beyond our wildest imagination!) no matter what our days may bring.
May it be this Christmas season. May it be in these coming moments of blissful chaos and harried celebration that we open our hearts and invite him, Immanuel, to work and live fully in us, knowing our hearts are being formed not by the wounds we receive in this life but by the Presence of Christ who dwells in us.