Believing to See

I look at the second to the last post I've written and saw that it's been exactly a year.  How uncanny is that?  

I've scattered my thoughts in many different places but still one place beckons me to stay still.  To write to believe.  It seems like an anthem that I'm hearing.  A sheep's horn begging me to come out from hiding.  

And I am. 

The year has been difficult.  There were relationships I had to let go of and relationships that I've chosen to keep.  There were duties that I had to stick out for and woundedness that I had to face.  It's been a sifting kind of year and it wasn't easy.  I am amazed that I am still here alive and grateful for unexpected places of grace.  

I've chosen to simplify many things.  Like the way I write and the way I live.  I realized how difficult it is to keep having to shape-shift around many people.  They won't always be like me and I will not always receive what I need from everybody even if I put 100% of me into every single one of them.  

But no matter how the sands shift with the tide, God stands firm.  He seems to have proven that to me this year over and over.  The peeling of my masks and all that has been falsely giving me satisfaction has been stripped off one by one and I am left with almost nothing but flesh that is raw, real and sore. 

I'm here this morning breathing in the silence and just paying attention to a few things.  The gray orange hue of the sun.  The lady cleaning the garden outside the house across the street.  My breath filling my hungry lungs.  The highlighted words of Ann Voskamp's devotional, The Greatest Gift. One that I ended the year with last year and coincidentally the same words motivate me to peacefully bring this year into surrender. 

Miracles begin understated.  They begin, and the earth doesn't shake and trumpets don't sound. Miracles begin with the plainsong of a promise--and sometimes not even fully believed.  This is always the best place for miracles: God meets us right where we don't believe. When our believing runs out, God's loving runs on.  This is the season of the Advent God. The barren will birth.  Dreams will wake into reality. Nothing is impossible for God.
There is this.  Never doubt that there are two kinds of doubt: one that fully lives into the questions and one that uses the questions as weapons against fully living.
Breathe easy into the questions.  The name of God, YHWH--inhale, exhale--is the sound of your breathing.  There is your miraculous answer.  As long as you are breathing, He is always your miraculous answer.  
And HE will prepare your heart for the coming of the Lord.  Now miracles stack, multiply.  You don't have to work for the coming of the Lord--you don't have to work for Christmas.  The miracle is always that God is gracious.  You don't have to earn Christmas, you don't have to perform Christmas, you don't have to make Christmas.  You can rest in Christ.  You can wait with Christ.  You can breathe easy in Christ. Open your heart to the miracle of grace.  He will prepare your heart for the coming of the Lord.   
Your name has been drawn.  Come to Him just as you are.  Give up trying to be self-made: this is your gift to Him--and His gift to you.  Simply come.  The miracle of Christmas is that you get more than proof of God's existence.  You get the experience of God's presence.  
You always get your Christmas miracle.  You get God with you. 


  1. Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer "fully reveals man to himself". If we may use the expression, this is the human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption. In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly "expressed" and, in a way, is newly created. He is newly created! "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus".

    The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly-and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being-he must with his unrest, uncertainty and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self, he must "appropriate" and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself.

    If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also of deep wonder at himself. How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he "gained so great a Redeemer" and if God "gave his only Son "in order that man "should not perish but have eternal life".

    In reality, the name for that deep amazement at man's worth and dignity is the Gospel, that is to say: the Good News. It is also called Christianity.

    JP II Redeemer of Man, 10.


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