I'm usually not Christmas guy.
Shaina is always itching to put Christmas music on around August 1.
Every time I hear "So this is Christmas" a baby animal gets shot.
Shaina watched ELF when she was in labor with Chaia...on June 30.
I question the meaning of life every year when the Hallmark Christmas movie marathons kick off.
Shaina likes planning out what to get people for Christmas.
I've worked one too many Black Fridays to find Christmas shopping even remotely enjoyable.
But for whatever reason I feel a little more inclined to Advent this year.
I think about the Jewish people who for centuries were looking for God to live up to His end of the bargain and send the One they'd been waiting and praying for. Enduring the seemingly deafening silence of God's inactivity.
I can identify in some ways to the feelings of God being distant and the road being hard.
And while myself (and the people) looked for the epic, sea-parting, bush-burning response of God, He chose the subtle over the epic.
A baby in a manger. In a place that wasn't the center...not the palace...not the temple...not the Holy City.
Christmas is subtle. So subtle that many missed it. So subtle that the lowly shepherds and some pagan astronomers were the only ones who caught it.
And that's maybe why Christmas has been hard for me to grab hold of. Epic sales. Epic movie marathons. Epic calendar filling. Trying to find the epic gift for the epic people in your life. Making your home pinterest caliber epic. Epic cookie baking. Epic meal planning. Epic Christmas cards that show how epically our family is put together.
Some of that is fun. Some of it is obsessive.
But what I'm clinging to is the subtlety of advent. The quiet waiting. The anticipation. I don't want to miss it!
And I hope God will come in subtle ways...
and lift the cloud of your depression so you can recall joy again...
and ease the nagging anxiety that has stolen your peace so that you may know the sweetness of a God who came near...
and comfort your grief because the ones who used to be around your tree or your table are gone...
and grant you moments of uncontrollable laughter that remind you that the kingdom of God belongs to those with the hearts of children...
and bless you with moments of quiet, where the noise and bustle subside long enough for you to breathe...
and teach your heart the truth that He is a great king and a great Father and knowing both of these deeply will change your life.
I think the subtlety of Christmas is what makes it epic. And if you miss the former, you'll always tirelessly chase the latter.
God was nowhere.
God is now here.
It's subtle. The difference is found in a little space.
May God bless your Christmas this year.
And may you live in such a way as to not miss it!!