Carols Sing by Michael W. Smith (sung by a beautiful boys’ choir)
Carols sing, to the King Jesus Christ our Saviour Born this day, angels say In a lowly manger He came down to the earth Bringing us new birth Carols sing, to the King Jesus Christ our Saviour
Tidings bring! Hail the King! Shepherds did adore Him From afar, by the star Wise men sought and found Him Son of God, Son of Man All in all I see Carols raise, His name praise He shall reign eternally Carols sing, to the King Jesus Christ our Saviour
Something the grown-ups used to do at prayer meeting or Sunday evening hymn sings or other less formal but still church times was share “life verses”. As they “grew in the Lord”, God “placed on their hearts” verses that would serve as God’s word for their days. To pass the time on my walks, I’ve been calling my relatives. This evening I called my grandmother back, as I’d missed her earlier call calling me back from the time I’d called her and she’d been unable to answer. When I asked her this evening what her life verse was, she said she had three, one for each of the three categories.
Inward “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
Upward “But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand” Psalm 31:14-15a
Outward “And he died for us all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:15
When I looked up the last one I backed up a little:
“For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.” 2 Corinthians 5:13
When the hunters leave early, we walk to the hills. One of our cats has been missing again, this time for nearly two weeks. We found her once across the lake, so we know she’s wandered at least that far before. I probably would’ve given up hope by now, but this past Sunday, my father-in-law told us he used to know cats who’d be gone for weeks. From his tractor he could see them out in the fields hunting. I haven’t much hope she’s coming back, but after that, I still have some. The longest any of ours have been gone is ten days, when she appeared one morning at the school room sliding door.
With it getting dark earlier, the evenings are longer. I’m wanting to get us settled into some flexible evening routines before winter. Though I’d suspect this to be true for any person, things go better for my tired-worn nerves when I’m not enduring hours of pins and needles before bedtime. My sisters are talking about the same thing for their daytimes, as their schools will be out from Thanksgiving until at least the end of Christmas break. They, too, like so many, seek a home and routine. The Lord says, “Seek and you shall find”, and the Lord is the keeper of promises, friends. What we’re looking for does not always come with what we’re asking for.
After tidying the living room and practicing piano songs, we moved down to the schoolroom. The kids had made white paper chains earlier in the day to hang from the ceiling along with the fake leaves. They plugged in the trees and sat in their Amish baby chairs drinking hot chocolate (I told them hot chocolate would not be a regular thing because of the sugar). With me on the guest bed and the kids in their chairs, I read to them a chapter from Revelation. After Babylon had fallen, they pulled out a board game.
I joined not in their wonders but watched from my pillow a little bit farther the evening nigh spent
Not that I’ve always followed it by any means, but as time goes on I’ve kind of had this rule with myself that if I can’t say something faithful, don’t say anything at all. Since the election I’ve written here almost every day, but have not been able to bring myself to say any of it out loud. Unless you’re somebody I live with or used to live with, words on outside world matters do not flow as freely. This time of year I’ve usually been playing my favorite Christmas album, Christmas night: Carols of the Nativity, for over a month. That’s still true of this year, but I’ve also had a lot more on my mind.
With the craziness of this year, I’ve been trying to not to get too involved mentally with it, to maintain a heart and attitude of compassion toward people. With restaurants, bars, and schools closing down again, my husband has been fielding emails from church members. He never tells me who they’re from, but he does sometimes tell me about the concerns people are having. I’m feeling like I can no longer ignore the mental side of the past year’s issues, the side that keeps telling me I truly can’t believe my eyes. Even more than uncertainty, the cognitive dissonance is driving me crazy.
Maybe I just needed to come to terms with that here, to say out loud I’ve not been a pretty ornamental ball of patience, certainty, and faith in all of this. I’m ready to go back to normal, friends, back to living without angst or eyerolls over the latest barrage of toxic news, back to less time on my phone and more time with my husband and kids, back to cleaning out closets and thinking about Christmas, back to praying for all people according to their needs, back to walking into church without all of us there wearing these stupid masks, back to trusting in Jesus as the Lord and Savior of the world.
“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” ~2 Corinthians 5:21~
I know it’s me who is supposed to be the grown-up here, so it’s becoming more apparent to me how much I struggle finding words to communicate my current thoughts and feelings. It’s not until I’ve reached the brink of thoughts and feelings you might call “strong” that I realize I have needs and limits, and yes, I’m fine with it. Go ahead and call them weaknesses.
It’s good to realize your faults as a person, but there’s something bad about focusing too much on that. I used to think my job as a grown-up was to set the example by apologizing whenever I’d done something wrong. Where this becomes a bigger problem is when I start to believe and act as if all my problems would go away if only I could properly own all my problems.
The other side to these personal problems is that other people also have problems. If you’ve been wronged by someone else’s problems, the focus then can easily shift to other people and all of their problems. Remaining logical and consistent in your beliefs, you think the bigger problems would go away if only they could properly realize and own their own problems.
I love when Jesus gives us words. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between him and you alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother (Matthew 18:15).” In the intimate context of love and sonship, we share in the faultless mind of Christ. There is godly reason, whereby on the forgiving cross of Jesus, God reveals himself to us.