This time of year is always a little crazy for me. The plus side is that we have established with our family and friends that given my work, we really cannot get away for Christmas. We do however, more than welcome folks to come and stay with us. So our place has become a wonderful place of hosting various family and friends since my ordination. That being said, while in the midst of finishing bulletins, preparing multiple sermons, and tending to any work that needs to be finished before I take several days off, I also need to make sure the house is clean, the shopping (food and gifts) has been done, the decorations are all ready to go – the list goes on and on.
Needless to say, anxiety is pretty high around our place this time of year. I try to soak in the quiet of Advent, and I try to proceed with a steady calm, but I regularly fail. Sometimes I wish I could get through Christmas, make time freeze for a couple of days, and then pick up in the middle of Christmas dinner. But no matter what I do, I still have not figured out that time freeze trick.
Tonight, though, I was reminded of the little gifts that God gives me in the midst of anxiety and overwhelmedness. After her bedtime routine, some quiet play in her room, and much stalling, my daughter always comes to me and asks me to rock her a little while in the dark before singing her to sleep. Tonight, as she lay on my chest and growing belly, we rocked in the quiet. It occurred to me how close her body was to the other growing child in my womb. It was almost like the two were hugging each other in the quiet. Of course, then I realized that I had the pleasure of hugging both of them, as the three of us rocked back and forth in a brief moment of calm and peace. I rocked for a minute or two more before realizing that the three of us were not actually alone. God’s arms were wrapped around all of us, holding us tightly, rocking gently with us. The image took me by surprise, but also created a wave of relief for me. It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in the busyness of this time that I forget that God is with me, even though I flit around as if God is not.
In the midst of these last days of preparation and waiting, I invite you to imagine the times when God might be enveloping you too – when you least expect it, when you most need it, but more importantly, when you do not even realize it. That is the gift of our awesome God – a God who carries us, despite the fact, that we, like a four-year old, insist that we can do it by ourselves. Ever faithful, ever patient, ever awesome is our God.