I thought I knew. This year has been so very crazy. I made some decisions that led me to believe I was getting exactly what I wanted... and yet... still some emptiness. What’s worse is that I know I hurt others along the way. This Advent, *I* need to reflect, *I* need a Messiah.
I am longing for redemption. I am longing for some kind of meaning beyond this emptiness that I feel. This year, well these last few years, have been soul-trying. My flesh and my heart feel like they are failing. Every morning though, I am reminded that He is faithful, and this season of my life will be redeemed.
As a child, what we really desire is presents under the tree. Maybe like young Ralphie, all we wanted was that Red Ryder BB gun.
Then, in what feels like a blink, we look down at our aged hands and realize the passing shadow that is life; has left us wrinkled, calloused, and dry.
Too weary to look up, a tree full of ornaments and memories but empty of purpose looms while it seems everyone else is joyful and happy. We look through picture albums and old journals in our attempt to experience *something* this Christmas season.
Maybe you are there this Christmas season, because you realize this is the first Christmas without Mom. Maybe this is the first Christmas without children under your roof.
Maybe this is the first Christmas you are alone... or the first Christmas where your loneliness is finally catching up to you.
Maybe this is the first Christmas in a new place, away from family, away from friends.
Maybe, this is the first Christmas at church that you don't feel at home on Sunday mornings anymore. Change has removed the traditions you held most dear.
All we want this Christmas is purpose. We want to experience...something meaningful.
For those of you, like me, who are longing for meaning... be reminded that God has not left you.
His presence, though not entirely felt, is here.
"Here". Wherever "Here" is for you.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!
A few years ago, I noticed something about this passage. The literary context of this prayer, to me, is a game changer.
"that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" is directly related to the reason Paul wrote this.
So often we overlook how passages begin. I know I do. Here he says, "For this reason I kneel..."
It is given to us in verse 12: God's presence with us through Jesus Christ. Paul is talking about the knowledge of God's presence with us.
And so, if this Christmas season you just "aren't feeling it". I ask, what is it that you are really wanting?
All sense of unsatisfaction is rooted in something much deeper... What is it that you were wishing for this Christmas? What is it that I am wishing?
Is it deliverance? Because God's answer is Himself, the rescuer of mankind refuses to leave us where He found us. He will take you in as a son or daughter, place a ring on your finger, dress you in a purple robe and we will feast and celebrate the great saving love He has for you. (Luke 15)
Is it a knowledge that you are loved? Because God's answer is again, Himself, love incarnate. He gifts you His very own body, His very own being of love. It's yours. It's mine.
Is it acceptance? Is it any surprise that the bloody, beaten image of God the Son hanging on a cross, after being rejected by His people, beaten, and humiliated has His arms wide open accepting you... accepting me. God Has given us Himself. And in every one of these ways... God has gifted us His presence with us. In our sin. In our shame. In our desperation. In our tears. In our anxiety. He whispers PEACE into our chaos.
Until we see God as the present, involved, loving, relational Father He is, and not as just a cosmic force, we will always feel some kind of un-satisfaction in our relationship with Him.
Maybe, just maybe, that will help us with all of the other things in our life that keep us from experiencing all that this season can bring. No, I’m not downplaying any of our pains or offering a one-all solution to the real things we feel every waking moment... but perhaps this is a first step we can all take at searching for our Messiah this Advent.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine... may He bring us His peace, His love, and His very presence.