Advent Day 09: The Deeper My Joy …

They are prepared for a God who strikes hard bargains but not for a God who gives as much for an hour’s work as for a day’s. They are prepared for a mustard-seed kingdom of God no bigger than the eye of a newt but not for the great banyan it becomes with birds in its branches singing Mozart. They are prepared for the potluck supper at First Presbyterian but not for the marriage supper of the lamb …
― Frederick Buechner from Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

 

The longer I wake on this Earth, the louder the quiet things speak to me. The more I experience and survive, the more I find truth in the commonalties we all share. The more pain softens me, the deeper my joy and the greater the lessons of those things that live in great stillness.

Before I had cancer, I used to complain so much, annoyed that every chore would need to be done again, that the grass would grow back as soon as I’d cut it. Now I am in awe how it will grow no matter what you do to it. How I need that knowledge.

― Mark Nepo from The Book of Awakening

 

God came to us because he wanted to join us on the road, to listen to our story, and to help us realize that we are not walking in circles but moving toward the house of peace and joy. This is the great mystery of Christmas that continues to give us comfort and consolation: we are not alone on our journey. The God of love who gave us life sent his only Son to be with us at all times and in all places, so that we never have to feel lost in our struggles but always can trust that he walks with us.

The challenge is to let God be who he wants to be. A part of us clings to our aloneness and does not allow God to touch us where we are most in pain. Often we hide from him precisely those places in ourselves where we feel guilty, ashamed, confused, and lost. Thus we do not give him a chance to be with us where we feel most alone.

Christmas is the renewed invitation not to be afraid and to let him—whose love is greater than our own hearts and minds can comprehend—be our companion.
— Henri Nouwen from Gracias!

 

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