Finding Room for God in the Crush of Christmas

Kenosis was just like a sandbox, we decided in our theology class.  I remember rubbing my forehead, trying to wrap my mind around a foreign Greek word.  We searched for images we could comprehend and did what any self-respecting theology student does, we went back to the playground.

God had to push back the fullness, the sand of Himself in order to make room for us to be created.

Holy Fullness carved out emptiness in order to create something new.

And I feel the need this morning to carve out space for His coming.

As a mom of young ones I am coughing under the pressure to discover a wand inside my sleeve for magic-making.  Christmas is just a week away and really, am I doing enough?


I lay on the couch yesterday morning with the flu and watched Giada’s Family Christmas with their postcard perfect sleigh ride, a ski lodge with a fireplace sparkling.  With pep, she basted a pot roast with red wine and slid Christmas dinner complete with onions, tomato and rosemary (yummy!) into the dutch oven and I caught my breath in fear.  Am I doing enough?  Should there be more garland, more caroling, more parties, more cookies, more… beef?


But, here I am searching, straining, hungry for an intangible that no Christmas special can fill, no amount of channel surfing will unearth.  I am hungry for Christ but have pressed in so much pre-Christmas living I can’t find enough stillness for His Presence.  At the end of the day I fall down exhausted on our futon, dishes still piled high in the sink, and can’t imagine where I can fit Christ into this crush, but I hear a call, ever so quietly.


I hear the voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.  Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low.  The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.  And all people will see God’s salvation.”  (Luke 3:4-6) I strain to hear the purifying call but think that at this point it might take an earthmover moving into my schedule book.

Part of me strains to pick up and move inside the Oprah magazine two-page spread that always says, “Breathe,” and features somewhere very calm, a mountain lake, woman at the end of a dock alone.  With the birth of my children, I lost the the map to that life.


This quote by Thomas R. Kelly spoke clearly to my thirst:  “Lead a listening life.  Order your outward life so that nothing drowns out the listening.”


I want that.  And honestly, I don’t know how to do that as a young mom, but I still hear the call.


So, Jesus, a prayer.

I’m coming, two shovels in hand and want you to come play in this sandbox of a life, to work with me to dig a simple hole, clear aside the sand gradually sliding back into Your place.

Teach me the spiritual discipline of emptying to make room for You.

Summer Gross

Joining Ann and still counting thanks:

1. a quiet room, a place to write, a gift.

2. a new (to me) website full of quotes that make me dig

3. Rocking my “baby” into rest, body going limp into sleep

4. Friends who make this journey abundant

5. Andrew generous in the face of my 24hr flu

6. A babysitter who filled the space under our Christmas tree

7. Those who breathe courage into the flagging

8. Hard Eucharisteo of tragedy that reminds us evil is hair-raising close

9. The Bride of Christ in South Haven being healed, and we get to witness

10. Those who faithfully gather every Monday at noon to intercede.  They are gifts and together, with God they are a part of the giving of more gifts.

Linking with Ann here:
A Holy Experience

And Laura

and of course the lovely Jen Ferguson and the Soli Deo Gloria sisterhood:

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  1. “more … beef?” Oh, that made me laugh. But it also hits very close to home. I feel the same pressure and love this idea of emptying to make space for Him. Thank you, friend.

  2. I love that quote. Listen is my word for this year, so that really spoke into my heart. I’ve found that whenever I try really hard to do big, extravagant things for the kids what they enjoy most is the moments in between when we are sitting together or reading together. Which can be frustrating, because I want them to appreciate all my hard work! The good news is that they are happy as long as we are together and they are getting my focused attention.

    1. Yes Anna, two weeks ago we went on a trip around our little town in our pajamas looking at Christmas lights. Yup, you guessed it. Spontaneous and now their favorite.

  3. Really love the Kelly quote and the idea of emptying so God can fill…it is a challenge with little ones, but I trust that we can cry out to God for little moments of quiet and empty and ask Him to fill it with Himself…praying you feel better soon…blessings, Summer…lovely photos…visiting from SDG

  4. Ah, those moments (years) with wee kids around, do make it difficult to find the space you crave for long relaxed times with the Lord. Those times will come in the future. Meanwhile, I pray you find sweet short moments with God, and sweet times with your family.


  5. Summer, I watched that same Giada special. I admit, I was a bit skeptical when I saw her take those kids to decorate cookies. Seemed a wee bit staged. 🙂 I remember what it’s like to decorate cookies with littles. But at least she didn’t have to clean the mess!

    I love the concept of kenosis. It has always captured me–seeming a perfect description of so much of the spiritual life.

    A happy Christmas to you and yours, and I pray you fell better soon.

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