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Christmas Devotional: O Come All Ye Faithful

The school holiday wheels are already falling off and it is only day one. We have baked a cake, watched a movie, done colouring in and my current soundtrack to this blog is a pair of tap shoes that I am hoping miraculously get lost stat!

Mariah Carey’s rendition of “All I want for Christmas” doesn’t even have the lift for the fatigue that has set in this season. Moment after moment, we sit in the midst of our messy lives and we remember the pure joy of being human.

Perfectionism is rife at Christmas and the advent of social media has made us all experts in the filtered life. Then enters this Carol. It is one that often makes me hiccup in the middle of my December madness.

The idea of faithfulness does not sit well with our current climate of consumerism. Another way we could describe it is just showing up. Showing up for each other. Showing up for our families, even when it is far from perfect.

Over the last couple of months, I have been on a book club journey with a group of wholehearted women. We have been reading through Brene Brown’s latest offering “Braving The Wilderness” and in full disclosure, today is the last day of the book club and I am meant to be writing my final salutation from the book, to round it up perfectly and neatly, wrapped in a bow.

However, there is one problem. I haven’t finished reading the book. Yep, fail and shrug. You see I could have written a post about what I have learnt from the book and filtered the whole experience with quotes and nods filled with wise sayings. Dodging the reality that I was missing the point of the book altogether.

Being brave means being faithful. Which means we show up, even when we haven’t quite made the measure. See, Jesus entered a world that was upside down. I am sure entering the midst of humanity would have been a shock to his perfection. He sat and cooked fish on the shores of the ocean. Sat around tables and broke bread. Took the time to visit those who were sick and he was misunderstood by his family and friends.

“True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. We want true belonging, but it takes tremendous courage to knowingly walk into hard moments.” Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness.

So here I stand a little uncomfortable because I didn’t finish something I started but at the same time I am showing up and finding grace in the midst of faithfulness.

For my book club:

What lesson did you take away from the book? and what was your favourite quote?

I pray this Christmas for those who are faithfully showing up even though it looks very imperfect. Help us to discover our voice in the midst of disconnected moments. I pray mostly for those who feel isolated or forgotten this Christmas. Those who are looking for where they belong. I hope that they would find the courage to step foot into a church, a carols service and participate in the choirs of angels singing in exaltation. That we would together answer each other’s prayers in ways that could only be attributed to miracles.

In the name of Jesus

Amen

Day 10: O Come All Ye Faithful

New Days, a vision workbook has just been released for download here. A tool to help you reflect, journal and envision at this time of year.

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Christmas Devotional: When I Think Upon Christmas

Sourdough baking has been teaching me lessons lately that I had no idea I needed to learn. Each loaf that takes sometimes twenty-four hours to make, stretch, rise and prove.

You see in a perfect world, I would have a spotless kitchen with marble benches and storage for days. I would have music piping and cinnamon sticks brewing on the stove with mulled wine tempting me into its presence. I would be quiet and reflecting, stretching the dough and waiting for it to rise.

My reality however often never matches my expectations as I stretch the dough and leave it to rise, I come back to a sink piled with never-ceasing dishes. The washing pile calls my name and flour drifts across my freshly swept floors.

This time of year tempts us with expectations that everything will be perfect and sanitised. We watch movies with white snow drifting and babies snoring in handmade rugs. However, the reality of most of our lives is very different.

When you think of Christmas past, do you remember the piled dishes? Do you remember the moments of mess and unmet expectations? Probably not but maybe yes!

Christmas in its simplicity is a celebration of something that happened thousands of years ago. There is something about the years that softens the heartache and magnifies the unique.

The phrase “Auld Lang Syne” translates as  “old long ago”, which can be translated as ‘‘days that have gone by” or “back in the day”. Thomas Keith, a scholar, says

“the song symbolises reunion not parting, as some mistakenly believe.”

The song looks back over happy days from the past, separation, then coming back together.

When I Think Upon Christmas from The Peace Project album is a beautiful reminder that looking back and to remember is a great gift of perspective.

Sourdough baking each Sunday is helping me create time to sit in the midst of the present but bring the perspective from my past. As I stretch and sift, wait and prove it reminds me that each and every one of our stories have seasons of messiness and moments of victory.

Each Christmas I take the time from the craziness to sit and reflect on what has happened the year previously. For the last fourteen years, I have sat and reminded myself of how far I have come, creating a moment of proving and rest. Despite the messiness of the season and the awkwardness of pulling away in prayer and contemplation, each year I come to a place of reflection to gather my peace.

When was the last time you sat and reflected, allowing yourself to gain reverence for what has transpired?

Listen to the song above and breathe in deeply the beauty of reuniting with the past and stepping into the new.

This year I created a workbook that can be downloaded or bought as a book to help facilitate this kind of reflection. It is called New Days. When we take the time to release the past, it creates a proving place of rest and the thing I know about sourdough baking, even when I think it is not possible, it always rises again.

This Christmas, I pray that peace would reign in your hearts. I hope that you find time to rest and in that proving place, you would reunite the power of how far you have travelled. I ask that the pilgrimage of hope that we all walk upon, becomes ever present in your moments of waiting and that you would find the grace to be kind to yourself again. May beauty amidst the mess help you remember that perfection is never the goal and when we wait for Jesus, he will always lead us home.

Amen

Day 3: When I Think Upon Christmas

Amanda Viviers