You fill my arms with your children, you fill your ears with my voice, you fill my eyes with tears.
You keep coming to me, and I am overwhelmed.
Who am I to be wrapped in ribbons, bedecked in beads, fitted in the finest finery?
The weight of these presents is too much. I take them off in the quiet of my home. I gently fold them and place them in a box, always to remind me of you, always to sink into my heart in such a way as to fill it up quickly.
I was always the quiet one, the one with arms folded and head down, the one who would hide and believe herself hidden. But your eyes didn’t lift mine, your smile didn’t spark mine, your words didn’t prompt mine, your joy didn’t create mine, your life didn’t start mine.
No, that was Another. But your eyes, your smile, your words, your joy, your life met mine on the road. We met, and I saw you … and I saw You.
I get excited easily. Especially this time of year.
But something has happened since I stopped eating from the children’s menu and started wearing make-up. Something bad.
Each Christmas, I feel it. I see it. Hopes are raised, lists are written, traditions are sought after. I dance the dance, but find myself disappointed and cynical at the end of it all, as torn wrapping paper covers the living room floor on the 25th of December.
We must do all the traditional things. We must saturate ourselves in the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Christmas. And if it snows, so much the better!
I’ve been chasing after an experience, hoping to catch the joy, to feel the excitement, to revive the Christmas spirit I remember from my childhood … to dance around the manger with all of my holiday paraphernalia.
But even if I watch all the right movies and bake all the right desserts and put my tree up at the right time, even if I devote all my time to finding the best, most generous and unexpected gifts to give and play only the most reverent of Christmas music, I won’t find what I’m hoping to find.
I’d rather have Jesus.
That’s why, this year, I’m celebrating Advent. Not as a piece in the puzzle, a means to a fully gift-wrapped, gingerbread-covered end. But because in Him is the only true joy. Because He is the one I want, the one I am waiting for, the one I will welcome.
The world is a lonely place. One man’s black is another man’s white. The mocking and the pointing and the fighting sadden me. The hunger and the greed entrap me. And the words, the words I love so much, confuse my tired heart and mind.
When your black is my black, when you don’t mock or point, when we’re fighting the same battles, when your words sound like my words, the world seems safe. My world.
But I know. I know that shutting my eyes to the world outside doesn’t make it disappear. I know it’s there, but I don’t know what to do.
I am a leaf, blown by the wind, almost torn in two by the fierceness of the gale. In the evening, I’m near the bank of a river, but when I open my eyes in the morning, I could be on a mountaintop … in the middle of a forest … anywhere.
I run into Your arms like a desperate woman. I don’t shut my eyes to the world; I look into Your kind, brown eyes and the world makes sense again. You are love, and I love You.