Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent Snatches....

Dear friend,
I hear you've had a brutal year--one filled with heartbreak and betrayal, worry and wondering, hurting and being asked to "Let go!"

I understand. I've been there...most days I still am. We are all  "there" at many points along this journey home.

Your friend truly wishes she could take away your suffering, answer your questions in a once-and-for-all way that would bring comfort and peace and healing....she can't. I can't.

But...what we can do is decorate your home. We can place little "touches" of beauty and memories and Advent moments in rooms where you work and sit and eat and pray...and hope (somehow) that those will bring you snatches of peace...and hope...and reminders of joy during this Advent season.

We can wish that when you light the candles we placed on your mantle and kitchen table, you are reminded of "the Light that shines into our darkness," the light that even our darkest darkness cannot extinguish.

We can hope that when you look at the Nativity scene on your end table, you are reminded and encouraged by the Baby Redeemer and Restorer who lies there in the "book manger" (which, by the way, I count as a serendipitous answer to an unspoken "prayer").

I've decided that, on this journey home, sometimes there are no BIG miracles. We pray for them, we hope for them, we wait for them. But, they just don't arrive.

And, in our weariness...disappointment...grief...the temptation is to become discouraged...disillusioned...even despondent.

Especally in those moments, the great challenge is to find the SMALL miracles Jesus brings into our lives every day...those small "snatches" that whisper to our broken hearts, "I love you. I hear you. I know. I care."

I wish you could have witnessed your friend helping decorate your home. Her heart was all for you, and her hope was to lift your sad, sweet heart (even just a little) toward "a future and a hope." As she helped prepare your home with light and beauty and love, she was truly "Jesus with skin" for her hurting friend.

Over the past three years, I know there have been many days I've been so burdened by not getting the BIG miracle that I've missed all the beautiful "small" ones He sent every day.

This you enjoy your beautiful home...touched by your loving prayer is that you find snatches of joy...and hope...and love...and Shalom (wholeness).

Some words I read this first Advent morning spoke deeply to me: "I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God's saving power....Our temptation is to be distracted by them....When I have no eyes for the small signs of God's presence--a baby's smile, children's carefree play, words of encouragement and gestures of love offered by friends--I will always remain tempted to despair. The small child of Bethlehem, the unknown man of Nazareth, the rejected preacher, the naked man on the cross, HE asks for my full attention...." (Henri Nouwen)

Held by Grace,
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away all tears.
He will remove forever all insults and mockery
against his land and people.
The Lord has spoken!
In that day the people will proclaim,
“This is our God!
We trusted in him, and he saved us!
This is the Lord, in whom we trusted.
Let us rejoice in the salvation he brings!”
(Isaiah 25:8-9, NLT)