Their sleeping bags are laid in front of the fireplace in our bedroom, three small-sized bags like spokes on a wheel. Andrew is picking out Silent Night on the guitar. We glance at eachother in the semi-darkness, eyes resonating with the goodness of this moment.
This is where stillness finally meets Christmas… where the gift begins.
In the days leading up to tonight, I wondered like most moms if I had wrapped enough presents under the tree for magic to happen Christmas morning, struggled with a vague sense of not enough. But tonight, all that silliness is quieted.
We sat in a line of metal chairs down the middle aisle at St. Stephens after piling out of the car from Christmas at the cousins, all of our hair splayed different directions from five hours as passengers. I held Xavier, his head on my shoulder and we sang, “O Come Let Us Adore Him.” And tonight I remember why we are all sleeping together in this bedroom, warmed by the crackle and flames dancing and the slowly quieting children.
His love burst forth in creation and we were spoken into being. Then, He walked nightly with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening in the garden. And this was always His desire. Communion. Communion with us. He and us fully present with each other.
But, then came the sin and the choosing and the ingratitude and the forgetting that He was good. And with one bite, God and his people were separated.
The good news?
He was not satisfied with the separation, hated it, in fact. He still longed to reach out, to live among, to set “his tent” in our midst. Then He searched for new ways to be present: a pillar of fire, of smoke, a tabernacle on the edge of the village, a temple in the middle of the city. But this was the problem, when God inhabited a place, He was also secluded to a place. Until one day He decided that a tent and a temple were not enough. He would come himself, become a walking, talking temple. He would put on our skin so that there would no longer be separation. Then He could walk on our ground, drink our water, place hands in our hands.
Unfortunately, Christ present, running fingers through our dirt was not enough, our separation was just too deep. Sin had walled us in and it would take our death to create a final separation or His death to finally break down the wall. His death became our invitation back home.
Later the Holy Spirit would come at Pentecost so God could be present for every Christ follower in every place, locate Himself within our human bodies.
From a stone temple, to a walking, breathing temple, to then making us His temple.
Finally, in Revelations, with shimmering visions we learn that someday God Himself will come back and make His tent among us for all eternity.
And this is what I want for Christmas….and for the New Year. I want to live a with-God life, not just an every once in a while with-God life when I bow to make time for Him. I want to live present to the One who is Present.
I want to live eyes-locked.
And as we practice adoration, take our eyes off our dips and climbs and lock onto His eyes tight, we are filled with the celebration that will someday rise up from deep within:
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard it saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (Revelations 5:12,13)
From our fire to yours, Merry Christmas!
I’ve been so blessed to share this Advent with you, my friends. Thank you for the great privilege of walking beside me. I can’t wait to continue to journey with you in the New Year.
Don’t miss any of the coming series. Slip your email into the CONNECT square on the right hand side of the front page.
I want to thank Deb Howard Photography for the gift of her photos. Thanks friend! Check out her beautiful new site here!