My project for December was to focus on the Advent Season...not the Holiday Season (gross), not even the Christmas Season (too watered down).
So, my thought was to have some kind of daily exercise or activity where I'd contemplate... ponder... consider.... the coming of Jesus 2,000 years ago. Or something spiritual like that.
But I had it all wrong.
The truth is this: it's not just that Jesus came, although that is incredibly significant.
It's that Jesus comes. Present tense. Right here. Today. Into my world. Into my living room, even.
And this is how it happened for me today:
James and I are going through the Moody monthly devotional we got from our church. No surprise, the month of December focuses on the coming of Christ.
I'm actually two days ahead of where we are together (well, I'm on schedule; we are a little behind), and this morning, I settled in with my cup of coffee and my fake fireplace to do my spiritual 'due diligence' to 'contemplate' these very deep and mysterious events of the Advent. Today's reading was about Elizabeth and the miraculous birth of her son, even though she was barren.
The last paragraph went like this:
Many women throughout the Bible struggled with infertility: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and now Elizabeth. Each prayer was answered, but not always in an expected way. Their stories also reveal something about the tender heart of God toward these women who longed to be mothers...Pray to the God who blessed Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth that He will continue to answer prayers in unexpected ways."
"The tender heart of God toward these women who longed to be mothers..."
And that is where Jesus came this morning. Right in that devotion - with me, my coffee, and my fake fireplace - He came.
That might seem like just a nice encouragement on the power of prayer, the wonder of God's ways - and it is all that.
But I had a miscarriage last week. My first pregnancy. Seven days ago, I found out my baby had no heartbeat. I don't have the words (yet) to describe what I've experienced the past five weeks, but suddenly, these words took on a life of their own. I'm not kidding...I literally heard that phrase whispered in my heart: "The tender heart of God toward these women who longed to be mothers..."
To hear that from God, while my heart is still healing...that His heart is tender toward women who long to be mothers....
Jesus came. Right there with me in my living room. He was there.
And then it hit me: I had it all wrong. It's great to contemplate the wonders of His coming so many years ago; in and of itself, the magnitude of that event is incomprehensible and nothing short of genuinely miraculous. But His coming is not past- tense. The wonder we miss is that He still is coming.
I thought my decision to focus on the Advent and His coming was my little gift or act of service to Him. But it's turning out that this actually is His gift to me...to remind me at a time when I really needed to know it - no, when I really need (present- tense) to experience it - the Advent isn't only about His Coming centuries ago. The Advent is about His Coming...today. Present- tense. At this very moment. Not just to a manger, but right here. In this very room, in fact.
It's not (just) that Jesus came.