Friday, December 23, 2016

An Advent Prayer

Dear Jesus, I come to you running on empty today. I can't imagine I am the only one. The calendar tells me we are teetering on the edge of Christmas and my mind says that I should be ready. And yet I am filled with longings; these days are passing so quickly and at times they drag on. I had visions that this was going to be the year that I really delighted. I imagined quiet evenings in front of the tree, pondering, warmth pouring from the crackling fire. In this season of Advent, this season in which we wait, this was going to be the year I slowed down, remembered and savored. The dictionary tells me to wait means "to stay where one is at or delay action until a particular time."

That was my plan for this year and I failed. 

Lord, how is this even possible, this idea of delaying action in my season of caring for littles? There are the parties, the presents, the cards, the wrapping, the "must-dos" and all the noise. How can I possibly wait in this setting of chaos, this time in my life when silence doesn't come without great effort? Silence is defined as the complete absence of noise. The intellectual part of me says creating noise should be what takes exertion and yet it seems as though the sheer opposite is true. Quiet is much, much harder to come by.

So God, this is what I ask you today: How are we to wait, to pause where we are at, when nothing around us ceases? I wish I knew the answer. This season has created in me a deep void, a crevice of longing. I want to be alone. I want to be everywhere but here.

After sitting on it for some time, I have come to recognize what has been right in front of my face all along - these desires welling in my soul are simply evidence of the fact that what I really, really want is you Jesus. This thirst, this emptiness I'm experiencing can be filled by no one else.

But these kids, Lord. They are a gift and a blessing for sure but they want me to feed them breakfast every single day. There is no such thing as a slow morning around here. I am awoken before dawn by voices piercing in the darkness, telling me it is time to rise. They tell me they are hungry, that their sheets are wet, that they have no clean socks. I drag myself out of bed each morning, visions of the coffee pot are all I see. What will we eat today? There is no time to plan ahead when the three of them are all home. We survive by flying by the seat of our pants.

Jesus, show up in the midst here, please. I need you so desperately. We need you so desperately. Take this broken acknowledgement and honor it.

When silence feels impossible, God can you please speak to us in the noise? 

The more I look at the story of your coming in the Bible, the more I see the parallels in our lives today. You didn't make your appearance in a time of calm and silence. You came to the unexpected, at a time that I'm sure was considered inopportune. I can't imagine the fields near Bethlehem, those fields where the angels appeared to the shepherds were slow and quiet. Far from it! And yet the shepherds heard. They tuned a listening ear and then they moved toward you.

So, speak to us Lord, even when the circumstances aren't as we envisioned and cause us to move toward you. Grip our hearts by the unexpected. Bring us to tears in the unanticipated. In the same way that you worked in strange and beautiful ways on that starry night in Bethlehem, work in us Lord. While sitting in traffic or herding kids in the airport as we travel. While preparing our contributions to the special meal, while gathering around the table with family, show up, Lord. While hiding behind the locked bathroom door to avoid breaking up yet another instance of sibling rivalry, be here, Father.

We are tired and we are weary and we long. Help us recognize it is you we desire. 

Fill us Lord, quench our thirst for you. Open our minds to see and experience you in the unexpected today. May our striving cease and may we rest in you. It is in your name, Jesus, we pray, Amen.

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posted by kelsie