These winter lengthened days are seasoned by the sparkling lights of the waiting ones, the plans and the gathering that we do to celebrate the precious gift of one another. They are busy days…sometimes long days where we look for grace and collect it like a treasure. And if we are present in this waiting season, we hold the times gently, grateful for the gift of just being near others.
And sometimes, we don’t. Sometimes we let ourselves get caught right up in the busy and the chaotic moments that strip the candle’s glowing promises we have been pondering. Hope, Peace, and Joy can become a bittersweet reminder of things we long for but seldom grasp in the midst of humanity flowing like an ocean tempest. All looking. All seeking. All waiting.
And that is what amazes me about the majesty of the message of Christmas. The mass celebration of the Anointed One who came in holy humility. The One who came in Love to bring us hope, to fill us with peace, to teach us joy. Love is the unifying principle that makes Christmas the most magical time of the year. And even those who don’t know Christ express love exponentially at Christmas.
And this, friends, this is the thing that has been playing over and over in my head. It’s all about His LOVE for us that brought salvation to a manger in a stable on a dark night guided by the light of a brilliant star and the anthem of the heavenlies announcing His arrival. The creation took notice of the Creator, the simplest to the wisest came to honor the One who made them, who came to save them.
And all because of Love.
For God so loved the World, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.-John 3:16
I have been thinking as we have been preparing for this celebration of Christ’s birth, of the way I have let things slide by… not the little things but the big ones. The way that busy-ness precedes our givenness. These weeks of looking towards hope, searching for peace, seeking out joy all depend on believing that God loved. If we don’t believe that, then what are we waiting for?
Sometimes I let my unbelief in me transfer to unbelief in Him and in the truth that is represented in this journey of grace I am taking. And I wonder when it will cease to be a stumbling block? No matter how thoroughly we study these truths and soak up His promises, our breaking selves don’t always know how to bring them together. We forget as fast as we step away from the mirror the image of our own pilgrim soul and we miss the love note that says, ” Because of love…all.”
Because love covers the multitude. Because love covers all transgression. Because love has come down, we get the chance to know and be known.
…love covers all. Proverbs 10:12
Above all things have love…for love covers a multitude… 1 Peter 4:8
This is the reality… our little things, our big things… they are covered because love came. This is what makes the miracle of His coming so palpable. It is what makes the mystery of the manger reach in through the cracks of our hardened hearts.
Love covers all because it will always win. Love won the moment He stepped out of glory into the swaddled clothes of a baby boy ready to ransom His heart for yours.
I’ll be honest and tell you that there have been many days lately that I have not loved well. And I feel like a phony writing words to you about loving others while waiting for the One who IS LOVE defined. And why do we do that, let one another down and shoot arrows at our hearts? We bend and bleed and break and then spill into sacred spaces while we are looking and seeking and waiting for the hope that overflows, the peace that passes all we can know, and the joy that strengthens and uplifts. We set aside the key to this adventurous living. Isn’t loving others the most risky wonderful thing? Isn’t being loved in return the oncore of our performance? Or at least, realizing that being loved by the only true source of love is the prescription our weak selves are needing?
The sanctification of our unloveliness met with the righteous fierce love that chose humility to bring us near reminds us that this journey is exactly that…a consistent waiting and searching for the ways His love has already provided for our needs.
And the traits we have been collecting as grace on our Advent journey, they are unified in love. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us love is the one thing that ties it all together, it is the greatest most powerful choice we can make, and without it we really don’t have faith. It is something we are all looking for in ways that fill us… acceptance, respect, approval, grace.
Sometimes we collect them in ways that are bound to destroy us.
Sometimes we gather up #gracemoments so that we can feel a little more full.
Sometimes we forget that love is God and it is the very gift of Him to us.
And sometimes we need to find ourselves alone in the dark near a stable lit by stars so that we can catch the miracle of love being born so that our breaking hearts can become whole.
Love came down at Christmas. It came with the herald of angles and the cry of a child. It came as the straining explosion of heaven labored to save a broken humanity. It came on the gentle boldness of true wisdom that said… ALL things through Him were. (John 1:3) And so love birthed grace right there in the straw and the wood holding glory.
Out of His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. – John 1:16
Love is the culmination of it all, the reason for the creating, the purpose for the seeking, the evidence of His coming.
Love gave all. God, who is love, gave His all. He gave us His Son.
And still we question and doubt. Jonathan Edwards said that “unbelief is the greatest of sins”, and I wonder if our lack of believing is a result of our inability to meet this love-force of holy that has been poured into our breaking.
We pause in this waiting… this lifetime wandering we do that takes us in and out of His nearness… by our own choosing, because we don’t yet fully understand the Love He offers. But He has given it still. And that is part of the mystery for me… this grace thing that I don’t deserve when I don’t know how to love well more often than not, it has never been based on my merit but on His fullness…His fierce love.
When words get in the way of what I want to say and actions don’t always do enough to convey the heart… LOVE is the answer. And God knew it. Because He knew that we would need to be reminded of the simple things. To see the glory of grace stepping out of heaven into a lowly place of need where all could approach, where no court had to convene to announce the gift but instead humble were invited to receive, to see the King of all who choose the less than to reach the unreachable.
It was love that responded to the quaking of creation with the fullness that covers the multitude of our breaking because it is surely more than enough.
This grip of grace that He has us in, the whole dynamic of love coming and walking among us, it is not a feel good story or a safety net for us to fall into… it is our settled place near God.
Emmanuel, God is With us.
He came near. He came forward to find His lost love. He chose you.
Nestling ourselves in our circumstances, swaddled in the robes of our journey, tattered, dirty and unclean… it will not deter His approach to the manger of our hearts, friends. He still comes close, leaning in to cover us, shielding us from ourselves and cocooning us in the wonder of who He is. He still offers the gift, a child of hope, a promise of peace, an ever present joy, because LOVE is His language.
It’s a language I want to learn well. I am learning slowly, but I am seeking… I am waiting. Letting go of my unbelief, filling upon the magnificent inclusio of His Gospel of Grace, its making this love lesson easier to apply. I am grateful for this grace journey, for the good and the bad. For the growing season, the wrestling and the resting, the waiting and the working. It culminates in this journey to seek the Messiah.
Love, came down at Christmas, it is the builder of hope, the binding of peace, and the broker for joy. Love came for your heart… for you to be found and to be filled.
Praying for your Christmas to be full of His love.
IT’S YOUR TURN TO BE A GRACE COUNTER! SHARE YOUR GRACE MOMENT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND THEN COUNT GRACE WITH A FRIEND WITH COMMENT ON A BLOG OR TWO.
If you are a blogger, link up here with a post about finding grace moments in your life or one of your favorite inspiring and encouraging posts from this week. Share your thoughts in the comment section telling me about the #Grace Moments you experienced this week. *(only 1 post per link please)*
Take time to visit your neighbor next to you, and if you want visit a few more friends on the journey. We all need a little encouragement and affirmation as we travel together.
If you don’t have a blog, you can connect with me via my Journeys in Grace FB page by sharing a photo or a comment. Or you can join the party by sharing your images on Instagram with #Gracemoments hashtag.
Each week I will try visit as many of your amazing posts as I can.This is a safe place to sit and dwell in grace together, friends. I can’t wait to pour a cup of friendship with you and take in the grace moments you have to share. Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.
A final Christmas offering of a few printables you are welcome to print out or use if you want to. Many Blessings to you and yours this Christmas!
love came down at christmas by christina rossetti
4×6 note card
I love that we begin our celebration this glorious holiday of love and belief during the darkest time of the year — and then comes the turning point when we start moving toward the light! It always gets my heart into a place of hope because Jesus came to be a Light that does not depend on sunny days and long daylight.
Dawn, I am taking a moment to wish you a Merry Christmas and to say a big THANK YOU for so many inspiring posts this year. I especially valued your incredible skills as bible study leader of Psalm 119.
Today your post so resonated with my heart!
Especially: The sanctification of our unloveliness met with the righteous fierce love that chose humility to bring us near reminds us that this journey is exactly that…a consistent waiting and searching for the ways His love has already provided for our needs.
That brings such reassurance.
May God send supply for ALL of your needs.
Mary in Summer-time New Zealand.
I am delayed in responding to this, but friend you have blessed me in so many ways. Your encouragement and faithfulness have touched my heart and in truth kept me blogging when I felt like I really didn’t have a reason to. Thank you. I pray your Holidays were full of His mercy and beauty. And I am jealous of your summer-time season right now in my arctic frigid winter days. 🙂
Blessings to you!