Perfect Mess

"But by the grace of God I am What I am, and His Grace to me was not in vain"
I Corinthians 15:10

Advent 4 Emmanuel, the Gift We’ve Always Had, Yet Always Wanted



“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn”  Luke 2:7

 This is an old post from a few years back that has been bubbling up in my mind all day so I decided to share, enjoy.

I was tickled the other day as I watched Faith and Hope exchange makeshift Christmas gifts for each other.  I guess they were practicing for the big day that is right around the corner.  As they opened up the well-loved stuffed animals and books with torn pages, they would exclaim, “wow, it’s just what I’ve always wanted!”

How precious it is when we find that “what we have always wanted” lies right here, already within our grasp.  Although this year has not been as eventful as some recent ones in a physical sense, for me it has been one of the most spiritually eventful years I have ever experienced.  It is always hard to explain this kind of stuff, words seem so small and tend to make these lessons feel smaller as I attempt to shove them in to the box of human understanding.  But, as all of you know who truly know me, I just can’t help but try.  His goodness is just too wonderful not to share!

Perhaps one of the greatest lessons the LORD has been working on my heart ties in very much to the Christmas story, the day that Emmanuel was born.  Emmanuel, the with of God!  Over 2000 years ago, God bridged a gap between man and Himself in the form of an infant.  He gave us the precious gift of His own “With”.  I have been pondering on the words from Luke that let us know that he was laid in a manger “because there was no place for him in the inn.”   God’s own Son came to be born in a town completely occupied in a physical sense, yet completely barren of Life in a greater sense.  Mans’ eyes were closed to what all heaven was celebrating.  Perhaps this is why God wanted the birth to take place out under the stars, so that the first sights of the newborn King would be that of all heaven celebrating His birth.  What man could not yet see or appreciate, every star, angel, and heavenly being was caught up in the weight of the glory that had just become wrapped up in tiny human flesh; God’s precious gift to all mankind.    The “with of God” had come to earth, only earth did not know it.  In the same way, the LORD has been showing me this year how often I allow the same lack of appreciation to happen in my own heart towards Him.  So much of what I believe about Him and myself in Him has already been “occupied” by my own self-conjured up conceptions of who I want Him to be…not Who He truly is.  Like a gift to myself, I have wrapped Him up in a nice, tidy box of human reasoning so that I can claim to have that part of Him checked off on my list of knowledge of God.  This year, much to my confusion and humiliation, He has blown open every box around Himself that I had neatly stacked away.  Like a child whose Lego masterpiece has just been knocked down, I have battled with the urges to scramble to get it all back in order.  How marvelous it had been to have such understanding of a Christ that is small enough to stay occupied in my own perceptions.  At first I felt much more like I was going backwards rather than forward.  However, soon I began to have a new depth of understanding for the words of Christ in Matthew 18:3 when He said, “…unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Like a child, I have learned and am still learning to not aspire so much to have knowledge about God, as much as to understand Him and how to live as if I believe His love and His Words for me in this world, this life.  To become smaller and weaker, that He could become larger and stronger.  To be less convinced of my future, and myself that I could become more convinced of Christ and His sovereignty.  To have less vision, yet more sight.  To become more hungry, that I might be able to feed more.  To become more homesick, that I might have a passion to lead more home.  More in love, that I might love others more.  Oh, that I could be like a child completely in my knowledge of my need for Him.

Jesus, please continue to birth Yourself and Your truth in to every place I have occupied with my own perceptions of who You are.  Forgive me for believing that this journey was more about me taking You out there than it was about me letting You in here. Just as You, The Word, became flesh and dwelt among us, please never stop moving in to the occupied places in my heart until this flesh has completely become Your Word that dwells only among You. Like the Holy night that You came as a gift to us from heaven, make us open up and realize the gift we already have in You, the gift that we have always had, yet always wanted.

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