advent journey

In a lot of ways this year, it feels as though we are missing Christmas – no Christmas tree of our own, no decorations or Christmas lights put up, no daily Advent activity (ok, I honestly only managed to do this last year :), Christmas cds still packed up from last year, no walking around downtown shopping (thanks Amazon for making presents even possible), haven’t baked any Christmas cookies….It has honestly, taken everything that I have to cope with packing, preparing, moving out of our house, caring for a sick husband, transitioning kids, saying goodbye to our beloved elementary school, separating from bike paths, coffee shops, routines, friends, the stuff of life in Davis.  And a part of me is deeply sad that this special time of year is devoid of the traditions that have made Christmas feel like Christmas and home feel like home.

And yet, a still, small voice came to me this morning as I embraced some quiet moments and whispered – that the story of Christmas is about a family on a journey, in transit, trying to settle into a place that is not their own.  Don’t I know so well the Christmas story from Luke 2 that records, “She (Mary) wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Mary and Joseph (and Jesus) were a family away from their home, experiencing the miraculous provision of a God who loves them (and the world) deeply.   They did not know where they would sleep or where this baby would be born (and I’m pretty sure they would have been horrified had they known ahead of time the stable and the manger that awaited them).  Yet, God provided richly for them. Now we celebrate by putting up these nativity scenes and images of this transition in our homes to remember and worship.  And I am reminded that He knows me, He knows my situation, my journey, my anxieties and questions over what and how and why and when this will work out, He also knows the names of the refuges fleeing their homes right now, He holds ALL of us in His hands and He is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or even imagine.

This year as I seek to establish new traditions for our family in transit, I hope to revel in that truth and experience the Advent journey as I never have before.

Please pray for our family in this season of transtion!

A joyous image from last Christmas!

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-joy

Courage

Last week my sister and I attended our first ever “hot yoga” clasfitness-clip-art-womens-fitness-clip-art-jpg-ehngsh-cliparts.  The room for this class was heated to 105 degrees and 40% humidity (the whole time).  Before the class started the teacher gave us one instruction – try to stay in the room for the whole class.  And let me tell you, that was a CHALLENGE!  I found myself trying to do my normal yoga routine and sweat pouring off of me like I’d never seen. At one point, my heart was pounding, my head was spinning and I whispered to my sister, “I don’t think I’m going to make it”.  She encouraged me to lay down because the floor was the coolest place.  And I’m happy to say I made it through the class.  In fact, by the end of it I felt like a warrior for surviving it.

I must say there is a lot about life right now that feels like a “hot yoga” class.  Decisions flying at me so quickly I barely have time to consider them – what to keep, what to donate, what to store, what to take, what to throw away, what will we want two years from now, what to ask for for Christmas, what will we need in Ghana?  I feel overwhelmed.  There are days when my courage is up and I think to myself, “I can do this”.  And other days, I doubt myself, discouragement overwhelms me and I want to run out of the room and a quiet voice says, “Stay, rest, you can do this”.

This has caused me to pause and consider the definition of courage.   I have always considered this and bravery to be such positive words with a strong positive connontation.  And they are!  I realize I never before experienced the pain, discomfort, and distress that these words require. This is what I hope this journey so instills in my children and what I’m finding it is drawing out of me…

courage

noun cour·age \ˈkər-ij, ˈkə-rij\

:mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

-Joy