Something transforming was conceived in me nearly 7 years ago while I was heavy with child, enduring betrayal and all around me were the lights, bells, talk of presents and Christmas music.
Every year since that get-on-your-knees-so-you-can-see-your-Savior-God-made-into-flesh season when I was humbled and lifted up, Christmas is sacred to me.
I’m not distracted by the obsession with sales and decking the halls. I’m fixed on God made into flesh. I’m struck by Almighty humbled. I’m taken with expectancy for my coming King.
Each year I seem to hear a different tune in the divine melody God has been singing to me over these 6 plus years. This year its the sound of advent which has captivated me.
I didn’t grow up with any kind of advent tradition, but a few years ago I came across this Jesse Tree and decided I wanted my kids to grow up with that as part of their Christmas memories.
Yesterday we hung our first ornament, or taped our first printout I should say, on our hand-drawn Jesse Tree. The reading was from the book of Isaiah where God says, “You’re about as useful as a tree stump, but I’m going to grow a shoot out of your stumpiness. A Savior from the stump of Jesse (my interpretation).” Hence the Jesse Tree. And so we began tonight with creation. We went all the way back to the beginning to see how, from our fall, all creation as been waiting for redemption.
As I was reading last night my oldest challenged me, “We already know these stories! Why do we have to read them again?!” I was hurt. He obviously didn’t hear the heavenly chorus I heard. I wanted him to hear. I wanted that seed to take root. I wanted… Jesse’s shoot to grow out of him! And then I heard it, that sweet melody.
“You’re waiting too Sheila. Not for your Savior to be born on earth but for Christ to be formed in you and your sons… in all those you pray for and plant seeds of truth-in-love in.”
Yes! Advent. I’m waiting. I’m groaning. I’m longing. My soul sings, “Come thou long expected Jesus…” though I know he came 2000 years ago. I cry, “Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel. And ransom captive ___________.” The blank fills with names. And its not just them I’m Savior-longing for.
I hunger. I thirst. For rightness. His righteousness. Christ in me. The hope of glory. The me He made me to be.
I’m waiting. I’m anticipating. I’m believing. I’m hoping against hope like Abraham. Though I’m as good as dead in reproductive righteousness. Though I’ve produced my share of Ishmael’s.
I’m waiting. Israel’s song of old is my song. Their longing is my longing. Mary was pregnant with her God and Savior. And all creation labors, even me. Believing the day of His glory revealed in me (oh what amazing grace!) is coming. Even now, little by little it is being formed.
Christmas is so much more.
Look beyond the latest sales.
Hear the sound of redemption.
Pay attention to the groaning for glory.
Hold fast to the hope of His coming!
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.-Romans 8:22-25
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.- Matthew 5:6
My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…- Galatians 4:19
For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. -Galatians 5:5