|My friend Holly's Christmas ladder|
True confession--I had to stop reading Ann Voskamp's Advent book--Day 8 was the last day.
"The Greatest Gift" is probably the most beautiful, thought provoking, underline-worthy book I've read well, since her first book. But it was just too much.
Many things are just too much these days.
Sandwiched in between generations--a mother in law who is slipping away and needs daily care and attention. Grandchildren whose parents call for help when the plumbing backs up and people are mean and kids won't listen. Grown children who I need to spend time with. And me in the middle, just losing a job (I wrote about that here), ramping up with a new one, balancing just enough sanity to hold it all together.
Something has to give.
I won't be doing Christmas as usual this year--my artificial tree is still half in and half out of the box. In order to make room for it, I had to stack up two baskets' worth of books....that's too many words all vying for my attention. I put all that noise away.
The decorations will not be put up; I think we're stringing popcorn instead. Less tinsel and sparkle.
No Christmas Eve service this season--ailing family members prohibit the travel.
Probably no outside lights in the windows, no cross on the crossbeams, no manger on the lawn.
It will be a different Christmas.
There will be less.
Less words, less noise, less brightfully cautious words that are telling me to listen. And there are so many people with perfectly wonderful things to say.
But it can be too much.
Which is why I put away that lovely book about Advent. The one about watchful, heartful waiting for Jesus' coming to earth.
And I picked up the devotional I set aside--named, aptly Waiting on God by Andrew Murray. I've been reading it since October of last year. And there are only 31 'days' of reading. So you can see I've been waiting a long time for whatever it is God wants to say and do....
I DO want to celebrate the king in a manger who quietly upset the world with his un-King like ways, that saviour swaddled by a refugee mother in a dark stable.
But I want to hear The One who comes softly saying,
"Be still. Listen. Watch for the light. Come away...."
I want to hear Him....and it's getting harder to push away the noise.
So I'm not shopping (much)but spending time listening to my precious friends and schoolchildren.
Sharing a meal with my sweet sisters.
Singing in the kitchen while I cook instead of along with the Muzak at the mall.
Celebrating, instead by sharing books I love--Santa's Favorite Story.
The only other Book I can make room for right now is God's Word--I'm making my only-est attempt at listening to that still small voice that says,
"I came down a ladder for you.**
To bring you peace. To keep you safe.
To be the more that you need,
the most that you need,
the all that you need this year."
**"Then He said to him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you all,
you shall see heaven opened, and the angels of God
ascending and descending upon the Son of Man!"
Jesus, the gospel of John Chapter 1, verse 51
from "The Greatest Gift" Chapter 8