The First Advent

hallelujahLast Christmas, I was just a little bit pregnant with my now big boy, Bennett. Last Christmas, he was just the size of a sesame seed, so said Babycenter.com. Last Christmas, the mystery of Christ’s coming as a human as tiny as my sesame seed really, really struck me. How profound, that the Creator of the universe so humbled himself as to enter the womb of a young Galilean girl some 2,000 years ago. I was brought to tears at the notion, as I rested my hand on my still-flat stomach and wondered what it was like to be Mary. Amazing. It completely blew my mind.

This Christmas, Bennett is four and a half months old, a whopping sixteen pounds, and already wearing 9-month clothes. He’s rolling over, albeit in secret so that Mommy and Daddy never actually see it happen, and he’s found his sense of humor. My husband and I are hilarious, in case you didn’t know. Bennett has changed our lives forever, and I’m in awe of the miracle of him every day. And this Christmas, I’m really, really struck by the mystery of Christ’s coming as an infant. God Almighty as a little infant. What a paradox: the One who knit Mary together in her mother’s womb looking delightedly up at her as she makes silly faces at Him. Giggling that adorable, spitty, gummy giggle that we all love. The Alpha and the Omega feeling hunger twist in His little belly, and rooting around anxiously to find Mary’s milk. The Savior of the world, the only Hope for mankind, developing little muscles under His baby fat and learning to roll over, much to the delight of His parents. Sprouting teeth and gnawing on Mary’s shoulder, soaking her clothes with saliva. Creator become created. A real human baby who needs baths and songs to fall asleep.  

I cannot fathom. What a woman, that young Mary. I’m delighted with each exciting milestone Bennett reaches, but there’s an undertone of sadness as I’m daily reminded that my little boy will one day very soon be a man — that I have precious little time with him. How much more weight those thoughts must have carried for the mother of our Lord.

So it’s not about Santa and presents. In fact, I very sincerely wish we didn’t do any of that. Santa gives gifts that will be soon forgotten and end up rotting in a landfill once the children outgrow them.

Christ gave His life.

That is a gift that impacts your eternity. The Advent — the entrance — of Christ into the world is what we should celebrate. It’s what we should and must emphasize. He is our only hope, and He is everything.

May you be struck by the true majesty and wonder of Christmas on this holy day. Merry Christmas, indeed!

Infinite, and an infant—eternal, and yet born of a woman—Almighty, and yet hanging on a woman’s breast—supporting the universe, and yet needing to be carried in a mother’s arms—king of angels, and yet the reputed son of Joseph—heir of all things and yet the carpenter’s despised son. Wonderful art thou O Jesus, and that shall be thy name for ever.
-Charles Spurgeon

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The Advent of Peace

Hello! I just finished up the Good Morning Girls‘ Advent Study, and it was awesome! I got a little behind, but ended up finishing it yesterday. The last verse is John 14:27 —

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

There is so much that could be said, but I focused in on the world’s peace, which rests in men. Looking up the Greek word that’s translated as “world,” I found that in addition to meaning exactly that, it also has a connotation of decoration and adornment. It made me think of dressing up, of keeping up appearances. What the world offers is only skin deep. Locks, seatbelts, baby monitors, railings, alarm systems, bank accounts, fraud alerts, security cameras, medicine, hospitals, first responders, guards, clean water, FDA, CDC, FEMA, FBI, warning labels, medical alert bracelets, insurance, road signs, speed limits, laws. These give some level of peace, but they’re all external. They can — and do — all fail on occasion. Only the peace of Christ surpasses all of these. What the world gives is false, incomplete, an illusion. It’s when we put all our trust in the world’s peace that we’re the most susceptible to being shattered when it fails. Praise the Lord that He sent His Son, the Prince of Peace, whose true peace surpasses all understanding!

How blessed are we who love Him, for He first loved us. Merry, Merry Christmas.

Be a Blessing,
Angela

TDOT: (Embarrassingly Belated) Days Twenty-Eight, Twenty-Nine, and Thirty

So it’s been so long that I almost let it go. But then I remembered that “TDOT” is thirty days. I only did twenty-seven, and that’s really a stretch anyway since I combined so many posts toward the end! Still, I made a commitment. Although I lagged on my posts, November really was a month of more thanksgiving for me, and it has extended through now as I reflect on Advent. God is teaching me so many things; I’m being stretched and pulled and challenged and sometimes frustrated by His relentless love for me that refuses to let me stay where I am. Oh, how He loves us so.

On Wednesday, November 28, I struggled a bit, wrestling with the darkness of my heart. I didn’t have many answers, but I was thankful for the God who does have them. The Advent reading for the day, Jeremiah 33:14-15, talked about justice and righteousness to come, knowing that one day we will be fully delivered from oppression and darkness:

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

On Thursday, November 29, I was so thankful to be able to teach an Advent lesson on the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to the ladies at my church. It was a challenging lesson to prepare, and I spent a long time on it, wading through way more Scripture passages than most one-hour meetings would tackle. Although I was afraid of being boring or of talking too much, I took my husband’s advice and just went with it; I told the Advent story from Mary’s perspective. I learned so much from her, and the best thing I learned was that, for all of her unique and miraculous experiences with the Savior of the world as her Son, her last appearance in the Bible leaves her exactly where we are, praying and waiting for the fullness of the Second Advent:

…as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

(Acts 1:9-14 ESV)

On Friday, November 30, I was so thankful to share in the joy of my pastor and his wife as they shared the 20-week sonogram findings of their miracle baby! Hallelujah and praise the Lord, for He is good, and the little blessing is growing strong and healthy. 😀  Reminds me of the little tune I made up to sing to my blessing baby while he was growing in my belly (it doesn’t rhyme–I can’t do that.) :

Little baaaaby
You’re so sweet and tiiiiiiny
I just wanna hooold you
So grow big ‘n’ strong!

I am so thankful.