Isn’t this a familiar story?.. I mean – the actual story but I also mean the idea – the idea of a humble hidden birth of one little boy who grows to be the liberator of his people. We have Moses – born lowly, raised princely and freed the Israelites. We have Jesus–born lowly, raised humbly and freed the whole human race.
“Let my people go!” booms Moses.
“Get thee behind me Satan,” commands Jesus.
16 days until the joyous event—the birth of our King! How are you feeling? Joyful or miserable, satisfied or sad, contented or condemned?
Who, or what, do you need to stand toe to toe with and boom, “Let me go!”
Is it that streak of perfectionism that runs wide and deep? The one that paralyzes you before you even begin or makes you stop the first time you step back and ‘it’ does not look like you thought ‘it’ would?
“What if I’m not a good wife, mother, friend, Catholic, woman, human being, sister, cook, cleaner, homeschooler, Bible reader, Scripture memorizer, Christmas shopper, party guest, grocery shopper, daughter in law, exerciser, organizer, budgeter, driver, singer, pray-er, blogger, thinker, neighbor…did that list about cover it all?
You need a battle cry my friend and if it worked for Moses, it’s good enough for me…“LET ME GO!”
…say it…whisper it…sing it…write it…shout it…proclaim it and believe it.
Who or what do you need to command, “Get thee behind me!”
The little green monster that appears every time you see ‘her?’ You know ‘her.’ The woman who seems to have it all…and it’s all together! Her car is clean, her hair neatly styled, her clothes match, her kids smile, her husband cleans, her parents adore her and her neighbors praise her. In her presence all you can do is hope you put on deodorant, pray you brushed your teeth and wish you could remember the last time you shaved your legs and washed your hair at the same time because lately it’s been one or the other baby!…and you envy her…but you don’t know her.
When she crawls into bed at night, is she worried or scared…drunk as a skunk or high as a kite? Does she fall asleep crying because she screamed at her kids rushing out the door or snapped at her husband for coming home late…again? For all you know, she may envy the fact that your old beater of a car is paid for, your hair is naturally curly (or straight), you rock a soccer mom tee-shirt, your kids are nice to each other, your husband wants to come home every night after work, your parents come in the front door and help with school or laundry or dinner, and you live in the country with no neighbors.
“Get thee behind me Satan…life is not a competition!”
Look up girls—follow the light to the King of Kings. Do not let an earthly ruler, the nagging of Satan and the deathly trap of competition keep you from adoring the baby King.
Remember how we read about God placing Adam and Eve in paradise–well…He also placed Joseph in a pit.
And if Joseph had not been placed in an empty pit–with no water in it even – he would not have eventually been set over the King’s affairs.
And if he were not over the King’s affairs, he would not have been able to store up the provisions to save his father and brothers.
And if Adam and Eve would not have sinned we would not have needed Jesus our Savior.
And if we did not need Jesus our Savior, we would have no need of Mary – His Mother.
This is starting to sound like a mouse with a cookie or a moose with a muffin…
See how awesome God is. All things work together for good!†Romans 8:28
Today we celebrate the Immaculate Conception honoring Blessed Mother Mary’s ever sinless life- from the moment of her conception. Why? Because…
The pride of sin demanded the beauty of humility.
And sometimes humility is as simple as accepting our present circumstance because we know, ‘God’s got this.’ Notice, I did not say, “as easy as” because sometimes the simplest things may be the hardest. «Click Here to Tweet This»
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. †Hebrews 11:1
And we might be in an empty pit, without even any water–tossed in there by those closest to us, but our God will pull us out. And He will not sell us off for a bounty–-that price has already been paid by a King Who shed His own blood.
Now Joseph of the Old Testament had some pretty hard knocks: from favored son to slave, from slave to prisoner, from befriending fellow prisoners to being forgotten by those fellow prisoners…but he accepted it all as his present circumstances.
Feel like you’re in a pit right now? God’s got this…God’s got you.
Just been sold out by those closest to you? God’s got this…God’s got you.
Forgotten, abandoned, lonely and trapped in a prison? God’s got this…God’s got you.
God met Jacob when he was on the run. His head resting on a stone—not a soft flannel sheet and stars for his blanket, not a plush down comforter. Jacob and God met in a dream that night—maybe that was the only time God could get through to Jacob. And when he wakes up, Jacob proclaims, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it..”
I wonder how often God and I are in the same place…and I miss Him. ‘If He were a snake He would’ve bit me’ miss Him.
How about in the check out line 20 deep – 3 registers open?
How about listening to your extended family’s quaint quirks over a meal?
How about watching your children fight over the last candy cane, last Christmas tree ornament to be hung, last sugar cookie, last red cup, last white plate…
What about your husband on the roof trying to put up decorations or your neighbor’s Christmas light display that you fear may attract small planes.
What about your chaotic, frantic, and just plain worn out self.
If God can meet Jacob with his head on a rock – He can meet you with yours against a brick wall.
All those situations above – God is right there. Right smack dab in the middle because you are there and God lives in you and greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. †1 John 4:4
I need to practice seeing God where I am and who I’m with. Practice makes perfect right? And if I start practicing; if I make the choice to see God…to find God, in every situation, in every place, in every one..I bet the more I do it, the easier it will become.
The story of Abraham and Isaac introduces us to ‘God Will Provide.’ After the angel stops Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac, they find a ram caught in the bushes. ”God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son,” Abraham had told Isaac earlier.
Stressed about money?–God Will provide.
Worried about past family tensions erupting around the dinner table?–God Will provide.
Worried about hateful words tucked in between ‘We give Thee thanks’ and ‘Pass the potatoes.’–God Will provide.
And doesn’t this time of year just suck it all right out of you–all your patience, obedience and self discipline? My self discipline and obedience fly right out the window in the face of sweet and savory. Getting it all done and getting enough rest battle like the Third World War as we lay our heads on the pillow each night. Waiting for the paycheck to be deposited, the UPS man to come to a rumbling halt in front of our house, and the lone stock-man at the over crowded store looking for the hidden reserves behind the door marked ‘Employees Only.’ The turkey’s half done—the stuffing over done and the dishes..undone.
Look for Him…Jehovah-Jireh, “The Lord will provide”.
The Lord Will Provide. He is there. He really is, just waiting for you to let Him provide for you.
Now, the Lord’s provisions may look a little different than you expect…
You may not win the lottery and be able to financial provide for all your family and friends…but if you woke up this morning, you can help them out spiritually by your prayers and sacrifices.
God Will Provide.
That lone stock-man may not emerge from the back room carrying the last toaster oven on sale…but you have bread in your pantry waiting to go into the non-existent toaster oven.
God Will Provide.
You may wish for a bigger Christmas tree, more sparkle to your lights, newer ornaments and prettier stockings…but you have a roof over your head, a floor under your feet and electricity running through your walls. Oh yea, and you have walls.
God Will provide.
If you don’t see it, it might be because you don’t need it…yet.
Provide–from the Latin providere “look ahead, prepare, supply,” from pro- “ahead” + videre “to see”.
If we stop and think about it…everything we try to do and accomplish this time of year is to bless someone. To make our ordinary home extra homey, to make an ordinary gift, extra special and to make all that we do and say intentional. We are trying to do more and be better. And that’s the problem—we’re trying.
What would this Advent look like if we just allowed God to make us the blessing He wants us to be?
If we begin to let things go and became restful instead of rushed…calm rather than chaotic. Would that restful calm produce more grins and maybe even giggles instead of grimaces and groans?
Maybe He does not want us to bless others with a frantic cookie baking blitz. Maybe he wants us to share a cup of something hot spur of the moment with our lonely neighbor. Maybe He wants us to call the new momma as we head to the store to see if she needs a little pick me up sweet treat.
And if we stop and are truly present to our family and friends…I mean “look ‘em in the eye” present…wouldn’t that be the best present we could give them?
God made Abraham a great blessing to all nations. Not because Abraham did anything really spectacular…or did he?
Do you think obedience can be spectacular? Maybe spectacular is not the right word. How about”‘Heroic?” I think of heroic in term of deeds and then the twists and turns of my mind leads to a natural synonym–spectacular. So heroic deeds or spectacular deeds…
How about welcoming a baby at the age of 100 like Abraham? That seems pretty spectacular…spectacularly heroic I would say. How about welcoming a baby in this day and age…spectacularly heroic? You betcha! How about welcoming a baby with extra special needs…or welcoming your 5th…spectacularly heroic? Check and double check!
How about living an active, vibrant Catholic faith…spectacularly heroic? How about living an active, vibrant, charitable Catholic life on aisle seven in Wal Mart the week before Christmas…spectacularly heroic? You know it!
I know we strive for humble lives, imitating Blessed Mother Mary but what a day changer if we woke up tomorrow morning and said, “I am a spectacularly heroic child of God!” Wouldn’t you feel like you could do anything? Wouldn’t that make us extra attentive to God, just waiting for the chance to be used by Him as a blessing to someone else? To be someone’s “Super Hero.”
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
This Advent, let’s keep things in their proper order:
Advent before Christmas
Preparation before celebration
Let’s live spectacularly heroic lives by listening for God and then doing what He says.