Walking to the mailbox each day and retrieving mail is one of my favorite simple daily pleasures. Maybe I just have friends who send great mail, but I truly look forward to this small thing each day. Christmas only amplifies these feelings as our mailbox is stuffed with sparkly cards and well wishes from friends, whose family photos then adorn the side of our (very untidy) refrigerator.
Despite my warm affection for all things mail related, I nixed Christmas cards from my to do list this year – there are only 168 hours in the week, and they simply didn’t make the cut. I’ve opted for sane over perfect for this years’ holiday season and I am loving the slower pace we have intentionally created. Other things bumped from the list include dusting, folding laundry right out of the dryer and keeping the pantry organized. Those things may make it back onto the list one day, but for now I’m pulling an Elsa and letting it go.
Instead I thought I would update you here about some things that have happened this year and what I’m looking forward to in 2018 – a virtual Christmas letter if you will. This past year has held a number of challenges: Nate’s back issues, uncertainty about the direction of our church and both kids starting school in the fall. Each of these things brought about special circumstances that required more from each of us personally, time being patient for them to resolve and prayerful consideration. It’s safe to say that “WAIT” is the word that defined most areas of our lives for a large portion of 2017.
The last few months have brought not just winds of change, but the word “YES” instead of “wait”. Yes to Nate regaining normal function of his back. Yes to moving forward and linking arms for a common goal with another church and moving forward to become one. Yes to confidence in knowing that our kids are in the right place as I pursue my goals and dreams with my business and the things the Lord has called me to. And, if I’m being totally honest, this season of Yes has me kind of beside myself. The long awaited fulfilment of many prayers has me both overflowing with gratitude and a host of emotion, coupled with the nagging question of “now what?”.
As I read the Christmas story in Luke, I’m wondering if the Jews felt the same way. The answer to their long awaited petition for a Messiah arrived in the least likely of ways (a baby born to unwed peasants) and they were, for the most part, overjoyed and filled with wonder. But what now? Was a baby going to overthrow a powerful government and set up rule and reign? What about the promises regarding the Messiah – how would He save them? What would that look like? How was this promise fulfilled in flesh and blood going to play out?
The Jews had just ended a period of four hundred years of silence from God, a time that was (if I can interject my humanity in here just a bit) probably filled with some doubt and fear and a feeling of “where are you God?”. While my life has in NO WAY compared to that of silence from God or suffering on a large scale, our family did have some years of difficulty, grief and hardship. Healing from that time has come in slow and steady ways, and from being well loved by the Lord and those around us. And now, there is the season of YES.
Yes to goals and dreams happening. Yes to peace and hope – not just believing and hoping but seeing the physical evidence of God’s movement in our lives in real and big ways. I don’t say this to project or pretend that our lives are perfect, they are in fact, far from it. We still have things that are difficult and that we are praying about, but those involve more than just myself so it isn’t my story to share.
I think the answer for me, much like it was for those shepherds who gathered to bring glory to the tiny baby King, is to not have to know all the answers, but to focus on adoration. To Adore the giver of the gifts and the Faithful One behind the promises, and to know that He will lead us into the season of Yes – even when those yeses take longer or look different than we expected once we get them. I also believe that our yeses mean we are to pray fresh new prayers that are bigger and crazier than before. To dream new dreams and walk a new path, knowing that the God who says WAIT also says YES.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours! May your 2018 be a year of adoring the Lord and walking whatever path He has for YOU!