I walked out of the church, past the reach of the candlelight, and into the storm.
At first I hadn’t expected it. The wind twisting my hair with invisible fingers, the blackness of the clouds against the night.
It was strong, and frightening almost.
The Christmas we know about is never like that.
We hang up lights to fend off the darkness. We put up trees to hide the barren places in the corners of rooms. We are peaceful. And calm.
Surely, this is Christmas?
As I walked into the night, starting towards home, the cold crept down into my bones. All of the warmth from the building was gone. All of the lights from the windows were gone.
I was alone.
Flashback. Thousands of years ago. Another dark night.
And after the sweeping, horribly strange and wonderful thunder of the angels had subsided, it was quiet again. The shepherds were gone. It was just Mary and Joseph, and this little child they didn’t understand. And silence descended.
Surely, that was Christmas?
But as I rushed forward into the storm, forgetting about my fear, stretching out my arms and running as fast as I could toward home, I realized.
This is Christmas.
Our storm, the wind in our ears, and the love of God making us so brazenly courageous that we would dare laugh at it all.
Silence. Calm. Those are part of it.
But perhaps we should remember the storm of Christmas. The storm of life.
And the hands of the Almighty God urging us forward with no fear.
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”(which means “God with us”).
God with us.
~Grace, “Christmas“, Down by the Willows blog (underlining added)
I find it appropriate that I’m sharing this after we just had a snowstorm. It’s been so windy and cold and dark.
I’ve dealt with several other storms–emotional/spiritual/etc. storms–this year and in past years. And I know I’m not the only one. Life is full of so many different storms.
But because of God–because of His love, His protection, His presence, etc.–because of Christ’s coming–we don’t have to fear.
I don’t have a lot of my own words to share, but there are several from another person. 🙂
I subscribed to Hannah Brencher’s Advent emails this year, and let me tell you folks I enjoyed them! I could go on a spiel about things she said (and already did once to my mom and sister), but (for now at least) I’ll share a bit from just two emails.
In one, she wrote about faith over fear and about Mary and Moses and their very different responses to God.
I love that Mary never questioned her place in the story. She thought it through and asked some hard questions, but her response was, “I am the Lord’s servant, so I will go wherever he leads me.”
I think about how another faith giant from the Bible, Moses, had the exact opposite response to God using him in such a big way.
When God outlined his plans to use Moses, Moses responded, “Who am I that you would use me?” He doubted. He responded out of crippling fear.
But do you know what God said back to his question? Probably not what you’d anticipate.
Not “you are the right one.”
Not “you have it what it takes.”
Not “you’re amazing, Moses. You’ve got this!”
But “I will be with you.”
He did not stroke Moses’ ego or build up his self-esteem. He simply pointed to Himself to remind Moses where he could lean.
We can walk bravely into today knowing we don’t need to be qualified to enter the story. God walking alongside us is the only qualification we need. His presence in our story is how we will move forward and tackle everything up ahead for us. We don’t need to be afraid of where God is leading us because His promise rings true thousands of years after he spoke it out: I will be with you.
…Hannah Brencher (underlining added)
In the other, she wrote about “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
If you remember the story, Charlie Brown sets out to create a Christmas pageant but ends up getting in way over his head. Everyone gets frustrated with him, and he loses sight of the purpose of the season.
If you have a moment this morning, watch this 2-minute clip of Linus reading from the book. Focus, specifically, on what happens when Linus says the words, “Fear not.”
You miss it if you don’t know to look for it.
For the first time in his character’s history, Linus releases his grip on his sacred security blanket and lets it fall to the ground.
As he introduces the audience to the hope of Jesus, he lets go of the false security he was holding tight to and begins to use both his hands to narrate the story.
There is something much better to cling to than our fears this season.
There is a reason to drop the security blanket.Hannah Brencher (underlining added)
We don’t have to fear.
We don’t have to cling to false security and be crippled by fear. We can be set free from fear.
God is with us.
He is here. He is good. He is loving. He is powerful. He is our hope. He is our security.