I’m not the first one who has had someone disagree with them on Facebook, and I am certainly not the first that has to interact with the combatant for their family Christmas party.
From thing to thing, party to legs sore from the bits of wrapping, hands caked with flour of some sort, the busy can help as a distraction from the disjointed feelings that this month and some brings. The pace, although we can blame the frenzy on the holiday, seems to be also a norm that our culture rewards and sometimes our own hearts reward, as we stuff down the emotion and keep doing. It seems hardest that with our families, those we spend either the most amount of time with or no time at all during this next few bits, we feel most tangibly the ache of what we hope it would be, while this is also the place we are told we belong the very most.
My mind has been wrestling through the differences between prophet and pharisee as I hope to wade well into the muck that is our present context, or rather, what I am realizing it is and it probably always has been. A pharisee creates rigid rules and extra-biblical wedges in order to maintain those rules, following condemnation and shame of those who do not fit into their perception of what they think it means to strive in this faith. A prophet is given and sharing words of God to build up the Church, and that building up comes through with both boldness and compassion, yet always with a hand reaching out, ready and eager to receive them who are ready to come home. One of these characters is much more easy for me to be as well as criticize, and also one that feels a lot better to be in the short-term; the other character is the one that we should call ourselves to be, and either shy away from or switch far too quickly into words that break someone down without having tears in our eyes (Micah 1:8).
The prophets readied the people for the Messiah’s return, a fervent reminder to keep watch, to hold out for hope, to believe the unbelievable, and to be the people Yahweh called them to be.
In the waiting, we are quick to be distracted. We are quick to throw out the mercy of what prayer can bring about if we’re willing to trust Him with the outcome, or flail about instead. Outrage continues to be a toxic drug, sedating us from the having true, hard conversations that can bring about change. Ultimately, it is coming back to the love by which He loved us, by which He has softened our own hearts, that we must run to as we repent and believe as much as the one we judge next to us. It’s good and helpful to remember we are all wayward and beloved. It’s good and helpful to remember that if the Spirit is with someone, much like we are frustrated with our own “progress” from one degree of glory to the next, God will do the work as He has promised. The outcome is beautiful. We wait for the day.
I bake these small orange slices, hoping that they might dry out a little faster in the oven, and also excited about the beauty they will bring to these gifts I want to offer to the ones I love, so I wait: I know what the outcome will be. In playing out the exchange between family and friends in my head, I make no room for Christ’s peace to rest upon me. I will bounce to and fro as the war wages both internally and externally as to which Kingdom I will choose to live in, but His grace will hold me fast. The wilderness does not need to be feared, but reverence, excitement for His return in the midst of many broken things prepares me to worship at the feet of the Word made Flesh, the One with us.
Make way, prepare Him room in every room you journey into this week: He is coming.