Express Advent- Day 1

I am committed to turn it all around the last week of Christmas, If you need clarification, check out my intro post here and you can get caught up to speed on my Express Advent idea.

Okay, so my Express Advent (EA) day 1 looked like this.  I sat through a church service this morning about Jesus being the Lord over every aspect of my life, and I was hit in the face with the blunt truth of how little I really acknowledge his Lordship in my life.  So much so that I did this to my hand:

I haven’t written on my hands since high school, but I so deeply want this truth to sink into my skin, to be at the forefront of my life that I found myself pressing the pen to my hand as the truth sank in.  After a day of hand washing after bathroom breaks, dirty diapers and prepping food it’s almost all gone.

Isn’t that the way life so often goes?  If we aren’t careful the daily grind washes away the truth of God. So I neglected the grind more today and focused on the moments and the people, and so right now our family room looks like this, and I’m okay with it.

 

When I got home I sat with Kel and we talked, about frustrations, about burdens, about struggles and about all the things that we don’t let Jesus be Lord over.  Then we prayed.  And after our amen, instead of busying my hands I listened to the frenzy of my thoughts until I heard this song drifting meekly in my mind….

Come thou long expected Jesus
Born to set thy people free
From our fears and sins release us
Let us find our rest in thee

So I repeated these lines, I wanted them to become my prayer for the day.

Jesus, please come into my Christmas, and set me free from all the “stuff” that I have stuck onto your season.  Piece by piece set me free from all the baggage I lug around.  Let my life be found-joy instead of stress and exhaustion.  I have fears and I have sins, I am tired, Lord please, please… help me to find my rest in thee.  But, what does this look like Lord?  My arms are full of “shoulds” and “need to’s” this season, what do I need to set down and walk away from?  What should I clear off of my calendar, erase from my to-do list?  Show me, lead me… my heart wants this.  I need this to survive, body, mind and spirit.  

We are expecting the coming of Jesus.  We live in the “in-between time”, Jesus has come, he has set us free from sin. He paid the price for our souls and he holds in his hands the key to our forever freedom.  Yet the world around is a broken beauty, it was created to delight us endlessly but it is broken completely and totally.  We await him to return one last time and redeem it all, set it all right.  In-between, that is the space in which we find ourselves this Christmas, 2011.  Our hearts are searching for wholeness in a broken world, our manger is full of hope and we yearn for intimacy with our God.  Our pain, our busyness, our brokenness keeps trying to pull us away from it and too often we walk away… but when we forget our hope, and neglect our relationship… then what?

I’m shooting from the hip here but .. I think that we just keep going back to the manger, to the cross, to the empty tomb and pray that God teaches us a better rhythm for our lives.  That he strengthens our connection.  We must keep the word grace on our lips and a prayer of repentance in our hearts.  I find myself sticking notes and quotes around my house to keep my wandering heart on course.

This week the world will clamor to grab your hand and pull you out of the stable, but I  want to stay inside, with the donkeys and sheep, waiting for the King to arrive.  I want to keep my eyes and my heart open for the moments God wants me to experience in the next week, do you?

Lets try this Action Item:  Be still for 5 minutes.  If you need food for thought:
– What are you expecting from this Christmas, are you doing something to make it happen?  What do your expectations say about the state of your heart and how do they affect how you are approaching Christmas Day?