for all the forgetful, messy, broken people out there – an Advent promise
It was a busy afternoon. I was distracted and overwhelmed, as many of us are during the holidays.
But I urgently needed to buy some laundry detergent — unless our family was willing to show up at church the next day in pajamas. So I rushed to the grocery store with that single item on my list.
By the time I parked the car, I had mentally added a few more items to the list, because the radio weatherman was predicting a big winter storm, and I might need some necessities. (“Must-have” items included a big bag of bite-sized chocolates, which I would secretly stash on a high shelf in the pantry in the event of Snowpocalypse. Hashtag mommy survival kit.)
I grabbed a shopping cart at the entrance and raced through aisles, picking up about a dozen more . . . a-hem . . . “necessities.”
At the checkout, the clerk gave me my total amount due. I handed her my credit card, and only then did I remember what I came for: Laundry detergent. It wasn’t even on the grocery conveyor belt!
I’d forgotten what I actually needed, because I was distracted by everything I thought I must have.
It hit me, right then, how forgetful I am — how I lose sight of the main thing, because of all the side distractions.
I’m not proud to admit that my forgetfulness happens in my spiritual life, not just at the grocery store.
Here we all are, wherever we are, on this grand globe called Earth. We’ve been sent here for purposes set for us long ago. And in reality, we need One Thing most of all. (Hint: It’s not laundry detergent or chocolate, and His name starts with the letter “J.”)
We know we need Him first and foremost, but we get distracted by everything else.
Truth is, we really do want God with all of our heart. We really do put Him at the top of our lists. But we chronically miss Him anyway — because of distraction, chaos and even because of our own pain.
The Pain is Real
For many of us, the pain is real. This can be a dreadfully hard time of year. Maybe your extended family can’t manage to sit down for one holiday meal without a conflict erupting. It’s a few weeks until Christmas, and for many of us, loved ones will be missing from our table. We can fairly predict who will be glaring at who over the water goblets, and who will be dealing with some really difficult stuff. Maybe that someone is you.
Our pain can break our communion with God.
Our distractions can break our communion with God.
Even our well-meaning busy-ness can break our communion with God.
Here’s the good news we need to know: even when we’ve broken communion with God, He doesn’t break communion with us. He enters into our brokenness, and restores communion.
And that’s what this whole season is all about — the restoration of all the broken things.
Jesus totally gets your chaos. He totally gets your brokenness. He doesn’t turn His back on the mess. He enters into it.
This is His Advent, His Christmas — His chaotic, messy, holy, no-room-for-you-in-the-inn, born-in-a-barn entry into the world. Imagine the pain of labor. The itch of hay. The stench of beast. This is God, incarnate, coming into our broken world, into our broken hearts.
Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness.