Monday, December 31, 2012

Small and Simple

(It has been an honor to be a part of building a school in Haiti with the Legacy Project of Help One Now thanks to our friends who donated many bricks in honor of Webb. The project is now fully funded and the doors will soon open for the children.)

When I think about the Legacy Project of Help One Now, I imagine the bricks laid, the mortar spread, the walls slowly inching higher and wider. I think about the backs bent and the hands scraped, the sweat dripped and the knees cracked.  I envision the desks arranged and the books organized, the pencils sharpened and the doors opened.  I think about the uniforms pressed and the shoes tied, the teeth brushed and the hair combed, the child eager.  Small, simple parts of a big, beautiful whole.

I think about my son, the one who now lives among the heavenly hosts.  I remember the two dimples around the smile, the side part of the blonde strands, the eyes like deep water and the hands still chubby like those of a baby. I think about my time with him, the books read while he nestled, the tears wiped when he hurt, the two arms that squeezed my neck, the kisses given and returned. I look back on his life, the first steps, the words learned, the spirit tender, the heart proud.  Small, simple parts of a big, beautiful whole.   

I struggle with how to do it.  How do I honor heaven with my life on earth?...

Continue reading at Help One Now by clicking here:

Monday, December 24, 2012

This Christmas

May you catch a glimpse of God in the flesh this Christmas.  May you see the dawning of the light.  May you experience the birth of new life.  May you sense the merriment and cheer along with the quiet and the awe.  May you witness subtle reflections of Him in the faces that surround you.

But if amongst the lights and the laughter, the presents and the pies, you begin to feel the pangs of loneliness, may you feel also, the presence of Emmanuel, God with us.  If you cannot lift your heart, may you lift the Child.  If you cannot sing joy to the world, may you hum a lullaby to the King.  And even if you cannot go tell it on the mountain, may you whisper it quiet, to your own beating heart, that “Jesus Christ is born.”  

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Desperate Kneeling

I kneel beside the manger not because I am reverent, but because I cannot stand.  I bow low beside the Christ not because I am faithful, but because I cannot lift my head.  I have come to see His birth not because I am exceptionally spiritual, but because I am barely surviving. 

And I know that this waiting is good.  I know that this waiting is the refining work of budding holiness.  I know that without the yearning and without the thirst, I might never experience the light of longing fulfilled. 

But here I am, kneeling and bowing and barely surviving with two clenched hands on the side of the manger, while the last, wet drips of hope fall from my eyes.  And all of the knowing in the world cannot fill the bottomless hole of deep pain.  I come with no gifts of gold or offerings of myrrh.  My hands are the empty vessels of my spirit.  My wounds are all I have to show for my coming.  The Child lies so close that I can smell his skin and sense his warmth, but I cannot lift my head or raise my body.  I cannot see the Love of God come down...

The rest can be found over at SheLoves Magazine. Continue reading by clicking here:  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waiting and Walking

I thought that there was a dark wall in front of me.  I thought that before me was a mountain of stone, impenetrable rock.  I knew there was light on the other side of this wall.  I knew it not because I saw slivers breaking through the cracks or because I felt it growing inside of me.  No, I knew it because I could hear the distant cries of God in the flesh, those first earthly sounds of Love.  These cries of God, they have me stirring.  And when God stirs, I only need to step.    

Sometimes it is the simplest act that feels the most daring.  To move in the darkness, to step ahead while waiting, it sends my soul shaking.  But I walk, and step after step I realize that I have come quite a ways.  And those cries of God sound not quite so distant.  My feet are tired, and my heart heavy, but I keep walking, discovering that I am neither closer to the dark wall, nor farther from it.  I am seeped deep into it, and darkness still surrounds.  But perhaps this darkness was never a wall to walk through, but a world to walk among. 

For isn’t this how He came?  Born in the pitch of night, birthed in the middle of darkness, arriving at the height of longing?  I nod my head as I keep stepping.  He came not to rid the world of darkness, but to walk among it, to be seeped deep into it, to offer light in the very midst of it.

Perhaps this is the work of the slow, stumbling journey to Bethlehem.  This is the trek of faith, the walking towards the voice of God while waiting in darkness, eager to catch just a glimpse.  I have been called to wait.  Yes, the waiting is good.  But may I not forget to walk while I wait in the darkness, to put one clumsy foot in front of the other, towards the light of the manger. 

And when I do arrive, when I do finally see the face of God, my feet raw from walking and my heart sunk from hurting, I will raise my hands to the heavens as I hold the light of life. For I may be too weak to carry the old, rugged cross of Christ the Crucified.  But even a weakling, even someone who is tarrying through the thickness of dark, can lift the fresh, new body of Christ the Infant.  For this, this encounter with the living God, I will wait.  But not only will I wait.  No, I will also walk.          

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Drip, Drip, Drip

See this post

this poem
Made Flesh

After the bright beam of hot annunciation
fused heaven with dark earth
his searing sharply-focused light
went out for a while
eclipsed in amniotic gloom:
his cool immensity of splendor
his universal grace
small-folded in a warm dim
female space-
the Word stern-sentenced
to be nine months dumb-
infinity walled in a womb
until the next enormity-the Mighty,
after submission to a woman's pains
helpless on a barn-bare floor
first-tasting bitter earth.

Now, I in him surrender
to the crush and cry of birth.
Because eternity
was closeted in time
he is my open door
to forever.
From his imprisonment my freedoms grow,
find wings.
Part of his body, I transcend this flesh.
From his sweet silence my mouth sings.
Out of his dark I glow.
My life, as his,
slips through death's mesh,
time's bars,
joins hands with heaven,
speaks with stars.

-Luci Shaw

and a night out

Monday, December 3, 2012

Come to Behold

Beneath the clamor of the season, I hear the faint cries in the quiet.  Above the noise of the hustle, I sense a new stillness beckoning in the night.  While I hurry and plan, do and make, the truth of God so loving this world lies swaddled in a blanket, waiting.  I hear the cries and I sense the stillness.  I desire the awe and I crave the wonder.  But my lists are long, and my calendar full, and my own blanket of holiday drapes over the truth of advent, muddling the gentle cries of invitation.  

I work to create traditions and memories, recipes and beauty, when all the while, Beauty rests in the dark of night calling me to come and adore.  My eyes are fixed on my family, these children for whom I long to know of God, and all the while, God waits in a manger.  I need only to bring them with me to come and kneel.  But I want it wrapped in color.  I want it to smell freshly baked.  And over all of it, I want the shiny glitter of perfection. 

But it has never been my job to create perfect.  For Perfect has already come. Perfect calls in the quiet coos of a Father become Child.  Perfect waits for me to stop running, and to start crawling, slowly and steadily by the side of Love, to come and behold. 

Yes, I hear it, the gentle cries, the soft coos, the quiet invitation to come and adore.  Yes, I see it, the light in the night, the star in the sky, the flesh of the Love.  But will I come?  As I rise in the morning and fall in the night, will I come?  In spite of the noise and the activity, the calendar and the lists, will I come?  Will I come to kneel, come to be stilled, come to behold?