"Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to hear it's cries. - Dallas Willard, Renovation Of The Heart."

It takes courage to pursue our dreams. It takes time and patience to unearth buried treasure. But I believe with all my heart that we must do both.



To the Wonder and Mystery


The season of Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.

It is a season set aside to prepare for the mystery we are about to celebrate at Christmas: the arrival of God with us, God incarnate. 





"Every year Christmas comes around again and forces us to deal with God in the context of demanding and inconvenient children; gatherings of family members, many of whom we spend the rest of the year avoiding; all the crasser forms of greed and commercialized materiality; garish lights and decorations.  Or maybe the other way around: Christmas forces us to deal with all the mess of our humanity in the context of God who has already entered that mess in the glorious birth of Jesus."
(Eugene Peterson, God With Us)





I am choosing the latter.  I am choosing to dwell on the wonder. To be astonished again. To dwell in the mystery. And to adore.  I am choosing to focus on the God who chose to enter my mess.  I may not do it perfectly, but that is where I want to be.

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There'd have been no room for the child.
(Madeline L'Engle)

Lord Jesus, 
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for
We who have so much to do, seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy, seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking light.
To you we say, Come Lord Jesus...
(Advent Prayer - Henri Nouwen)


Anita said...


Bevie said...

I too choose to sit in wonder at all that Christmas represents, and the beginning of the Advent season means so much. Isn't it wonderful to Celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus knowing full well that God gave his all by coming in the flesh to die for our sins...an awesome free gift that some refuse to accept. love you so much sis...my prayers are always with you. (((hugs)))

Mary said...

yes, and not just to die for our sins, which is amazing to be sure, but it's so much more too. He restores relationship/relationships, he changes hearts and brings healing, he offers abundant, real life here and now. He offers a peace in the midst of hardship, strength to endure them as well. He gives us what we really are searching for even if we are not aware of it. He offers unconditional love and acceptance. I could keep on going and going....

Valerie said...

Thank you, thank you! I love this!

Jennifer Richardson said...

Oh yes.
It all comes down to Emmanuel...God with us.
I love the reminder
to not take this for granted.
He is WITH us.......IN us!
It's a wonder.
Thanks for these life-giving word, Mary.

Poetic Artist said...

Thanks for this post...You are such a inspiration for me.

Montgomery Family said...

ooooh...I love this! Every word of it!!! Thank you, Mary! I'm hoping we get some art time when I'm in Atlanta!! I've thought of you lots as I decorated for Christmas! So many treasures around our house are from you and your generous heart, and I enjoyed that again as I pulled out the decorations!

Erin Butson said...

I needed this today Mary! Thank you for this, today.

Nancy said...

I am with you girlfriend........each moment expecting the wonders that only He can create......and the joy that only He can instill......

Love you sweet girl.....

Pom Pom said...

Don't you LOVE Madeline L'Engle's writing? I have read the Crosswicks Journals so many times. What a lovely post, so true and deep.

Anonymous said...

I loved the quote from Eugene Peterson. Really made me reframe the Holidays. God is in the mess. Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Emmanuel, God WITH us. This phrase has been my heartbeat as I pondered the Advent Journal I would be working on. Thank you for these words, today especially.