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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: Silent Night

It was the Christmas of snowmen melting in the midst of the searing Australian heat. I cried out from the middle of my sleepless night, please Lord give me rest. My son was all of three and my newborn was just discovering her voice and everything that I had dreamed of for Christmas seemed a distant memory.

We lived in a tiny beach flat, purposed for one maybe two but we squeezed four humans into a space reminiscent of a stable, humble for sure. The greatest prayer I had that Christmas was for sleep and the icing on the cake was silence.

The history of this hymn, “Silent Night” is one full of mystery and haltering tales of people gathering in humble places, with technology failing and the weather howling.

On Christmas Eve in 1818 a blizzard stranded the tiny village of Ogledorf
Nestled in the Austrian mountains. That same day the people of St. Nicholas’ church found their organ broken. So the priest and organist began composing a song that could be sung without. An organ yet beautiful enough to express their Christmas joy. All day and all night long they worked and at midnight the gentle carol Silent Night was born the pure clear tones echoed through the hills and the world has been captured by the beauty of that simple song ever since.

Kelly Clarkson

That Christmas in the midst of my novice motherhood haze, my three-year-old boy, became obsessed with a movie, that had no words. The plight of the flying snowman and his little dog became a daily habit in our little beach flat. Whilst this movie played and my son sat transfixed by the paintings and its orchestral soundtrack, it was like my prayer for peace and quiet had been delivered with a pocket of silence.

I didn’t realise how much I would long for silence as a Mum. Questions and crying, negotiations and demands, the ever consistent noise of family life overwhelm most days. And then carols like silent night come drifting into my December and I remember the power of contemplation coupled with hushed tones.

Psalm 46: 10 encourages my heart…

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

To wait for that still moment, of meditation and quiet. Too long for space amidst the noise and carve our quiet contemplation in a world obsessed with greed and fame.

If you asked a mother of a newborn (aside from those smirky ones at the park trying to tell us their three-week-old has slept through the night) there is not much calm and peace.

I doubt that stable all those years ago was quiet either. I think sheep would have been complaining and horses conversing. I think doors would have been slamming and yes babies crying. Husbands and wives would have been fighting and innkeepers cooking.

Washing would have been whirring and the wind could have been howling. You see that place of silence had nothing to do with the external, but our internal condition that longs for peace and contemplation.

In the midst of the Christmas noise, this season surrender to the call of silence and see what is waiting for you there.

Silence is uncomfortable because it creates space for the questions to appear.

Silence is unnerving because it can show us that all our striving and competing is all but a whisper in the wind.

Silence is disheartening because we remember that which our heart aches for.

Silence is threatening because we remember our why in the midst of its wings.

Find Silence waiting for you this season, peace is waged in its hallways and hope is discovered in cul de sacs of contemplation.

This Christmas I pray that in the midst of the music, presents and celebration that silence beacons us towards the discomfort of its arms. May we find the answers that we have been seeking. May we discover the perspective that aches for release. Lord help us to surrender to the pain of not knowing and the overwhelming protection of your peace.

In the name of Jesus

Amen

Day two: Silent Night

Devotions inspired by The Peace Project.

Amanda Viviers

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.