The Advent Failure

The wicks of our Advent candles have barely burned as they should, so they are simply little black fingers curling toward the ceiling, begging for heat and light.

Our mouths have barely spoken of exactly what Advent means, what the manger scene gives to all of humanity.

We have been lying in our beds, on our couches, any square inch of space that takes away the flu-aches. And when the fogginess rises away from our brains, we see clearly that we have failed.

We don’t really know who Jesus was or is. Our home is void of peace and void of The Word that is all words and all life.

We are lazy and selfish, we are busy and tired. We are failures every day that we try to rise.

A friend reminded me of what another friend told her, that Advent is a time of deep grieving and soul-ripping repentance (emphasis added).

So in the very midst of my failure, I look heavenward. I look at the wooden manger scene brought home 5 years ago from Uganda.

I look at the unmarked and unexamined words of Bible pages, and I try to take repentance into the deepest parts of me.

Yesterday at church, my kind friend and pastor reminded all of us that we’re all broken, all failures, all mismatched and wonky, the lot of us.

And I sat there thinking Yes, yes, it’s true. How can God be so big that He loves all of us in these broken-hearted messes?

Then I remember that God is not broken. And His whole-heartedness encompasses all of our creaks and tears, yes, even in the tiny baby cries echoing along the shaky walls of the cold winter manger, ever since then and evermore, His wholeness surrounds us.

I haven’t told Eliot the entirety of the Christmas story, who Jesus is, what He should mean to us, the glorious peace of the Word living among us, because I don’t know how to speak it.

I haven’t told him, and I haven’t kept promises to myself, promises to love better and with more mercy.

But what I can do is the light the candle, watch the glow, repent, remember, and move forward in the newness of grace, outstretched before and around me.

Come, Jesus, come.


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