A Thrill of Hope – Advent 2
Folks are decorating for the holidays. So, naturally, they’re posting pictures. Decorated trees. Beautiful wreaths. Immaculate decor. So much tidiness. So much minimalist beauty. How do these people with children maintain such perfection? Inquiring minds want to know.
And here I am… laying on the couch next to a bucket. Occasionally dry heaving. I was shivering, but too quivery to get a blanket, so I dug a hole in the unfolded laundry and scooted under it. Like a boss. All the while, my house is doing The Slide. You know that dance. The great slide into deeper and deeper mess and disarray.
The Plague has descended. Mom is out of commission.
This wasn’t the Thrill Of Hope I was hoping for.
But I’m remembering something… something that makes me shake my head and smile…
Yesterday, after receiving Communion from the glittery pink manicured hands of Debbie (who calls me ‘Sugar’), I slogged by way to the back pew where the charismatics sit. The Prayer Ministry people. I choked out these words, “I’m just so tired. I don’t want to go on…” before bursting into embarrassing tears. Ms. Anne Marie pressed me into the warmest hug and laid her weathered black hands on my shoulders. She prayed, “Lord give her rest.”
Sometimes we pray for rest, and then we end up spending the whole day on the couch sipping preservative laced chicken broth from microwaveable containers. Sometimes we pray for rest… and everything grinds to an absolutely irrepressible halt.
Sometimes we think rest looks like everything being done, being twinkly and neat, being calm and bright. And then it looks like a cocoon of laundry and a waste bin at the ready.
Sometimes we wait well. Sometimes we live each day as if it is our last.
Sometimes we look ahead with expectation and discipline.
Sometimes we confidently think, “Should Jesus come again, he will find my house in order.”
And sometimes we get the flu. Sometimes waiting looks like hunkering down for a hurricane while everything slides into chaos around us.
And this is part of the story.
This, He does not scorn.
This is in his hands, from his hands, in his mercy…
This, I sudden realize, even this, can be a beautiful sacrifice of praise if we receive it with thanksgiving.
Thanks for the rest.
Whatever your waiting season has in store–maybe Merry and Bright, maybe Messy and Bucket Puke–we can really and truly do this: We can rest in His victory. This is no cliche. This is no religious truism to shrug away. We can rest here. Under the laundry while the kids spent the ENTIRE day watching Story Bots. We can eat instant soup and throw away all our good plans for the day. We can rest in the waiting for the fulfillment of a story. We know the promised ending: He will make all the broken New.
The project is already underway. He came. Even pukey and exhausted, we are being loved back to life. He is coming again. And if he finds us on the couch, he will not turn away.
Tiny as that light may be at this moment for you… I hope it is even the smallest thrill of hope in your heart.