And she gave birth... and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn.
Luke 2: 7 RSV
I have been enamoured with Vincent (yes, I feel like we are on a first name basis) ever since we viewed his exquisite works of art in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam this past summer.
|Girl Kneeling by a Cradle, Van Gogh, 1883|
- Vincent Van Gogh, The Complete Letters, 242, 1, 483
The world (including the church) seems to be in this constant search for something grand, yet we usually end up looking in all the wrong places.
That night so long ago the world expected a powerful Saviour and King to come and rule on earth. Instead, this fragile, dependent baby in a filthy manger was born.
I get caught in this same trap. I fail to recognize Christ in the unexpected, the small, the ordinary, the weak, the broken, the messy and needy people and places of life.
Sometimes I am pleading so hard for Christ to show up through spectacular gestures and miracles in order to fix what is out of order and control in this world that I actually miss His love being revealed right here in the now. I often find myself waiting for some distant, future answer to prayer to confirm that God has indeed shown up, instead of recognizing and receiving the reality of His love in the present moment.
There have been other times that I have missed the love, joy and peace of Christ simply because I had a preconceived idea of how Emmanuel should reveal Himself in a certain manner, situation, time or place.
Like the Innkeeper from that infamous night, I have also failed to make time and room in my heart for Christ. When I am consumed and filled with worry, fear or hurt there becomes little space left to receive the unexpected revelation of His loving Presence.
"All your life long, you wait for your own true love to come - we all of us do - our destiny, our joy, our heart's desire. So how am I to say it ...? When he came, I missed him. "Pray for me, brothers and sisters. Pray for the Innkeeper. Pray for me, and for us all..."
Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat
When He came to you, did you miss Him?
This question continues to haunt me.
During this year of seeking to live awake in Christ I have been humbled by the revelation of God's wonder and love, yet I sadly confess that I echo Buechner's lament for the moments I have missed Him.
I don't want to ever miss my true love again.
Awaken us Lord to Your Presence.
Thank you for revealing Your love in and through us.
Christ, you are true love revealed.
Emmanuel is here, right now with us as I write and you read this very sentence...don't miss Him. Stop right now, acknowledge Him, receive and behold His love.
This week let's keep watch as God reveals His love to us and through us so that we may become living revelations of His love to those we meet.
Come now and expect the unexpected!
Love Is Revealed, Advent Sessions
written by Terry & Jessica Posthumus & Ken Michell