An Ache For More Than Ordinary

by Christine Sine

by Joy Lenton

by Joy Lenton. All Rights Reserved.

by Joy Lenton. All Rights Reserved.

I watch curiously out the window, wondering when signs of celebration will appear, because our neighbours across the street usually like to get a head-start on their Christmas preparations. They normally decorate well before the end of November, but not this year.

 Sadly, all looks barren, winter-bare, a reflection of being dispirited due to family bereavement and their ailing health. They tend to be those who delight in the trimmings and trappings of the festive season, have their hearts set on secular things. Their minds normally unaware of the Divine footprints in their midst, but that’s not the whole picture.

 Because our neighbours, local or worldwidewhether we like and understand them or notshare a common humanity, experience tears, fears, sorrow, grief and pain. No matter how people may appear on the outside, we all have an ache for more than ordinary, a longing for joy, peace and rest, hearts hungry for hope, a yearning for love and light in dark times. Jesus came to answer those needs with His gift of loving sacrifice. 

 My neighbours find their winter cheer by celebrating getting through another hard, challenging, year. They experience joy from being with their family, eating and drinking festive fare, looking optimistically ahead and putting a brave face on things.

 And I wonder, am I any different on the surface? I engage in those things too, and get caught in the thrall of an online gift buying frenzy for my family. What begins with enthusiasm soon loses its lustre though, as energy dissipates quicker than a deflated balloon!

 Putting up Christmas decorations in our home is usually a frantic, last-minute thing. Just like my neighbours, my thoughts tend to drift.  Rather than a having a heart set on fire by God’s love, a mind full of reverence and awe, I often neglect to focus most on what really matters most—the greatest Gift Himself, who continually gives to us.

 It’s so easy to get carried away by consumerism in this season, as we feel the drive to buy just one more ‘essential’ thing that will make our celebrations complete. We become distracted, lose out to fatigue, anxiety, stress and an urgent need for rest rather than reverent reflection.

 I think we could all use a reminder to make room for Jesus on a daily basis, to live with eyes wide open to wonder, and God’s continual grace, to have a growing awareness of the Incarnation of Christ ever-present with us now, and gratitude for the difference it makes.

 Our joy in being Christ-followers rests in knowing we are living with the marvel of the Incarnation as an everyday reality. We already have the wonder of Love come down, the miracle of an exchanged life—God’s love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and royal robe of righteousness for our dark covering of sin, guilt and shame, His strength and wholeness for our weakness and brokenness.

The gift of a renewed and restored life is available to us all. We don’t have to wait for a special day to celebrate. It’s a hope filled answer to all our hearts are longing for, and a reason to see Christmas in a new light, especially if we are struggling.

It’s never too soon to become Christ’s Light bearers and Truth sharers. It’s always timely to share the Good News. And it’s never premature to rejoice in Jesus’ wonderful presence with us, to find meaningful ways to share His love with our family, friends and neighbours.

God delights to answer the cries of hurting hearts, to reveal The Way for the lost, give us a renewed zest and sense of what Advent is all about—eager anticipation as we await His coming again, while celebrating the way He originally came to be among us as Friend, Neighbour, Saviour.

This post is part of our 2016 Advent series.

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BettieG December 11, 2016 - 8:13 pm

Dear Joy, Oh, your thought provoking questions catch me right in the middle of these days that are so easily full of weariness and overwhelm. Thank you for sharing such honest and true thoughts. I know that I surely needed this “reminder to make room for Jesus on a daily basis, to live with eyes wide open to wonder, and God’s continual grace.” Years ago I carried in my purse a magazine ad that had the title “Wonder” written across the top, to jar my thoughts back to the child-like view of Life, lived full and open to God. I am so grateful for your words tonight, just when I needed them! Blessings & Hugs! xoxo

Joy Lenton December 12, 2016 - 9:01 am

Dear Bettie, it’s good to know these words are timely for you. I share your feelings of “weariness and overwhelm”, which so easily beset us in this season. It does take deliberation to seek out the sacred spaces our souls crave, and to ensure we receive all the rest we need. I love the idea of you carrying such an immediate reminder to appreciate wonder in your daily life! That’s well worth emulating. Bless you for stopping by to read this post in the midst of such wearying fatigue and busyness. I appreciate you, sweet friend! xox <3

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