About a month ago, I wrote a post asking you to share what are your holiday stresses. Thank you for commenting! In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some thoughts, inspired by the comments that were posted — in a running series, Holiday Sharing.
For today’s first holiday sharing, I reflected on how we might respond when we face the unknown.
Stores have been decked out with holiday decorations, heralding the crazed holiday shopping season. Christmas cheer starts knocking on our doors, leaving us Evites to winter festivities and charitable activities.
It’s hard to keep calm among all the marketing blasting us. Everything seems to herald the call to action: Go here! Do this! Buy that! There is so much to do in preparation for the most, wonderful time of the year (C’mon, sing with me!…), it’s hard not to get the shakes just thinking about it.
As believers, however, we have a completely opposite journey to take spiritually. The call of Advent beckons us to enter into a time of waiting.
A Time of Waiting
Yep. It’s Advent– the season to prepare our inward selves for the outward celebration of Christ, which we call Christmas.
The first of four Advent candles invites us to make room for Jesus’ coming and points us to Hope.
Hope is tough to light inwardly if we are placing so much hope on the externals. Until we bump into the Unknown.
The Unknowns force us to wait. They are the problems that can’t be solved, so big that we can’t even out think them and so unwieldy, we have to keep a running tab on the complexities daily.
For some of us, the Christmas experience itself is an unknown. It’s a time that’s happily anticipated, but I am sometimes overwhelmed. Am I doing the “right” things to make it special? My hopes of having a meaningful Christmas somehow create more stress than peace.
Others of us are facing big events in our lives. Dealing with family conflict, facing a financial crises or selling a house mark big profound changes that force us to adjust. We try to make plans and wise decisions, but we aren’t guaranteed smooth sailing. Still, we hope for a swift and perfect outcome.
The rest of us face little, everyday hassles that can take their toll. Lately, our family has experienced a string of these: appliances that don’t work (usually the day after the warranty has expired!) and various family members playing musical chairs with the flu. We hope for the end of such maladies.
As I reflected on my own bill of unknowns, I sensed unrest. I want so much to know how our family and my story will work out.
It’s human nature to want editorial control of our lives. We itch to make our mark.
The New Way
Advent calls us to stop and turn back from trying to write our own stories. The more I try to write away the unknown, more of it seems they come out of the woodwork.
There is no peace for the unknown other than Advent: waiting for Christ.
I forget there are just some problems that aren’t solvable by little ol’ me. I try to remedy myself with people, things, and my own good cheer. This is the old way, where I hope in myself, my plans or my story.
God calls me to live a new way. He wants to make His mark and to write His story instead. As I wait for the worst to unravel, God shows up and makes sense out of the stress.
Thank God I don’t need to be stress-free, in order for Him to work in me. Jesus’ birth proves it. Jesus came when the world was messed up, arriving small, under the most unpromising circumstances.
This is the very rescue I need because I am small and messed up… and unpromising.
This is the Hope of Christmas — No matter how wrapped up we are in the unknown, God knows the way.
Without Jesus, we are left to only hope that things will change for the better. With God, we have Hope that He can make us better.
Any patches of unknown waiting on your holiday path?
God knows you and He knows the way.
“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.” ~ God (Is. 42:9)
“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.” ~ God (Is. 43:19)
Be sure to catch my next post in the Holiday Sharing Series! Feel free to drop your comments below. I love connecting with you through them and post my reply at the end of the day or thereafter. SUBSCRIBE NOW to get updates from FaithBarista hot and fresh directly in your mailbox via email (click here) or RSS (click here) news reader.
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