hoping for God with us.

This post is the other reflection I wrote for the Advent/Christmas Prayerbook, which is a combined effort of Liberti Church in Philadelphia and Restoration Living (an online space that I’m honored to write with and for).

Merry Christmas! May your holiday moments be extra special and meaningful, and may you experience a fresh sense of God’s presence, and how deep and wide his love is…for you.

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It’s the day before.

Maybe you feel rushed and hassled and hurried, or maybe you’re ready and eager and excited. You’ve been prepping for days, maybe even weeks, for Christmas morning. And it’s almost here.

Inside, as you’ve entered into this advent season, you’ve experienced a longing, a waiting, for what is to come – for you, for your family, for this world – the day we remember the significant birth of a baby, a baby who was birthed to save the world.

But this waiting, it hasn’t been without or depleted of this baby, of his life. He’s been in the waiting. His presence, his spirit – it’s been here all along. Have you seen it? Have you felt it? Have you embraced it?

He’s here. In the waiting.

And he will come. Again. In the morning.

His hope, his peace, his joy, his love – it comes again and again and again. Anticipate it. Participate with it. The baby that was born that night embodied all of this. All of what we need was wrapped in that swaddling blanket. He was for…us.

Stunning.

Perhaps tomorrow is less about what is to come, than what has already come. Maybe today, as we wait, God awaits, with us – to make his love, his compassion, more known to us, like as a mother whose love overflows as she holds her swaddled baby.

So tonight, light a candle. And as you gaze upon the flame, speak out loud, “Come, Lord Jesus Come…make known to us what you have already birthed within us, in your world. Come find the desolate places that need more light, more of you – your hope, your peace, your joy, your love. Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”

Tonight, as the sun sets, and tomorrow as the sun rises, may your anticipation transform into participation, with him, the Savior of the world.

See him…in the faces lit up around you.

Feel him…in the body and blood and skin you wear.

Embrace him…in the wonder and awe and miracle that marks the day we call Christmas.

“Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”

 

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hoping for justice.

This post is one of the reflections I was invited to write for the Advent/Christmas Prayerbook, which is a combined effort of Liberti Church in Philadelphia and Restoration Living (an online space that I’m honored to write with and for).

May this Advent season bless you immensely.

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How much do you just sit and watch children? I mean really watch, soak in, experience? They’re always moving. They’re always growing. They’re always pushing forwards.

They don’t stay content with crawling. They want to walk.

They don’t stay content with pointing and sounding out letters. They want to read.

They don’t stay content listening to music. They want to make it.

And they should. That’s the way they were created to be.

And the parents, the adults – we’re cheering and encouraging and welcoming the milestones. Everything inside of us wants them to learn and grow and create and become…what God dreams for them. We believe there’s an invitation to participate in their maturity, in their movement, onward.

And we should. That’s the way we were created to be.

As humans, we weren’t created to stop or become complacent with where we’ve arrived, with “what is.” Yes, part of the journey is finding our way to acceptance and contentment and gratitude. Yet there’s this divine sense, that God’s larger story is always pulling us forward, rescuing, being bought back – by him, for him.

We experience the impact of living in a broken world every day – broken cars and bones and systems and relationships. Even broken pieces within creation. There are moments and days when it’s easy to feel stuck in all that’s wrong in life, in all that’s “supposed to be.” It’s heavy, and at times, it can even feel unfair, despairing. And, rightly so. So many things fall short of what God intended “in the beginning.”

But, do you ever have those moments in the midst of the despair, that something in you is groaning for more…beauty, love, reconciliation, wholeness? Maybe you feel it around you. Maybe you feel it inside of you. There’s something within that gives you a sense of hope, a belief, that Aslan is on the move.

And he is.

God’s dream is that our world would be a world of justice, a place where things are “as they should be.” A place where his shalom, his heart, is being made known and experienced here, within us, around us. A place where his will is being done on earth, as it is in heaven. Maybe this is the ache inside us, what keeps us moving. Kingdom. Justice.

But to know where we’re headed, where his story is headed, we have to know where we’ve come from. Naming what’s ruptured helps us know what needs to be repaired, made new. And then, to be aware of, to participate in, the restoration, the redemption – of all that points towards his Kingdom.

So as we sit in anticipation during this advent season, yearning for more of him, let’s keep dreaming of what “could be,” what “should be” – a glorious and mysterious recreation of what God intended for the world, for us. A place where his creation is living wide awake, where his beloved are living loved, where righteousness and justice flow.