Thursday, December 8, 2016

Bless My Soul, It's Christmas (An Open Letter to Battle-weary Souls)

Someone finally informed Wisconsin it is December, so she distributed the cold and snow throughout the state and for all intents and purposes it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It is in light of this season that I step out and write my soul a letter. My soul so long hibernating needs the light of the Star. And while the world is busy in their bustle, asleep to the manger child, my nocturnal soul thirsts for the peace that can only be found nestled within the Living Water poured out that first Christmas night.

This letter is for the soul, yours and mine, that sees the words Hope Peace Joy Believe plastered on every store shelf, but is finding those entities elusive.

For you, Soul,

I get it. You are stressed. Pulled in directions you never thought possible. And the bows that wrap those perfect Pinterest packages threaten to strangle you. Parades of the cute and creative stream past you daily, reminding you that no matter how much you do, it will not be enough.

You are smothered, starved by grating expectations.

The standard is too lofty, the bar too high.

The mounds of mail, laundry, stuff, stand as grotesque monuments to the truth that you will never get it all done. You just can't keep it all together, and you can't help but see your foibles and failures as the empirical, indisputable evidence that you fall short.

You pray for elves to take over the menial, tedious, daily tasks that hamper your spirit and hinder the great things you could do if you just had the time, the energy. With time and energy you could devote yourself to things that matter. Things that bring glory to God.

You could feel sufficient. You really could. If only.

But here is the true news, the news for all people- If Christ was born today, God could lay Him in your basket of clean yet crumpled laundry, smelling of mildew because you kept forgetting to take it out of the washer (if only an elf could just perform that one task how much simpler our lives could be!), and it would be enough

God did not design you, Soul, to be sufficient without Him.

And the measure with which He determines your worth has nothing to do with your prowess with vacuums, packages, laundry baskets, gourmet meals, or craftiness.

It doesn't have a stitch to do with how well you keep the smile on your face the one thousandth time you say yes to something you don't have the time to perform.

Your sufficiency isn't wrapped up in the decorations and lights. It isn't strapped to your vehicle as you travel to every important must-see place this Christmas season.

Your sufficiency is where it has always been- with Your creator. It isn't bundled in a cozy handmade quilt, festooned with tulle and sprinkled tinsel. It is swaddled and in a manger.

If you want to know what you are worth, Soul, look only to the Christ child.

Would He have come if you were not of infinite worth to the Maker of the World?

Would your faulting, halting words so offend and grieve God that they could not be atoned for by the blood of the same body breathing in the stable?

No, Soul, it was never the intention of God to give us a Pinterest Christmas. He could have made the birth of Jesus cute. Every amazing and adorable idea under the sun has been born under His watchful eye, and yet He chose the crude, the cruel, the stinky, the inconvenient, to be the birthplace of His one and only Son. A setting that would so embarrass us, God made sufficient, holy, by stepping right into it and making it part of His story.

Just like you, Soul. He stepped in and made you part of His story. You, who are embarrassed by your idiosyncrasies and incapability, are one in whom God delights. He looks at the forgotten Advent calendar, the cookies unmade, the decorations still in their boxes, and the tears that come with unrealized expectations, and He is satisfied. Because it is not about those things. It never ever was.

If you want to know what God thinks of you, follow the wise men to the child, and the child to the cross. Follow the women to the empty tomb.

You worship a risen Savior who was not drawn in by the impressive acts of men, but by their humility.

Your faults and fall-shorts are the perfect soil to grow the joy of Christmas, if you allow it. It is the soil God chose Himself, and He will tend and see it to the end until what grows from the dirt and ashes is nothing short of His glory.

Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and forget not all His benefits.

Merry Christmas