Remembering Christmas.

Written at Christmas and stuck in my drafts, I found this today.
It’s funny how I have to learn the same lessons again and again.
I guess this is kind of an explanation of sorts of this post.
Here you go. 

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I have a conversation with a good friend, and he asks what I fear most.
My honest answer is “disappointing God”, but it goes out of my mouth peppered
with a remark about how my theology is somehow screwed up.
Laced with an apology of sorts because I know that’s not how I’m supposed to feel.
But I say it from the heart because I find myself where my relationship with God always seems to suffer:
in the busyness.

The past few weeks have been hectic to say the very least.

Exams were followed by a few days home, full of unpacking and packing.
Then Baton Rouge for Hannah’s graduation and home again
only to leave for a whirlwind trip of gift giving and party throwing in Belize.
We touched down at Gulfport “International”  just in time for church services and running into old friends and Christmas eve with family.

All wonderful, but I’m left on Christmas Eve while the family goes to the 5 o’clock service.
Left at home because my brain has shut down and sleep is the best form of worship I am able to offer. Somehow just as acceptable as lifting my hands high and bowing my head low in reverence of that baby boy, born in a manger 2,000 years ago.

Through sleep, I’m revitalized and enjoy an evening of celebration with family
and end the night at that white clapboard church on Ocean Avenue.
The one I love so much.
The service is different from any Christmas Eve service that I’ve ever attended before.
The room less than half full, no choir except the voices that stand to sing in the pews and
the angel echoes that seem to fill the high ceilings of that beautiful church.

As much as I love the packed house that has come with all the Christmas Eves of my past,
I have a feeling that it’s not a coincidence that I missed that service earlier.
Not just a happenstance that it’s just me and my mom,
along with just fifty other people, now here in the late and emptied church.
Because it’s always in the quiet that God reminds me of His love.
It’s in the stillness that I’ve been needing so desperately that He holds me close.

Because the past few weeks have been exciting and fun and exhilarating.
But some dreams have slipped away, and fears work so desperately to take their place in my mind.
Fears that whatever I do won’t be enough. And that I’ll never be so-and-so.
And that I won’t amount to much at all.
That God won’t come through because He seems ever-so-silent in an ever-so-scary world.
It’s in the busy that I’ve sacrificed my time with God
and then once again been reminded how desperately my need is for Him.

So I tell my friend that I’m fearful of disappointing God,
but as I think more, I realize that my fear is unfounded because
what I’m really afraid of is God disappointing me,
and that’s only possible if I seek the wrong things. If I seek the wrong gods.
Because my God is one who is incapable of disappointing.
One who gives good gifts to the ones that serve Him.
One that forgives and supplies and loves.

Oh, how He loves.

My God is the one who came to earth through a virgin and died on a cross.
The one who endured the unthinkable so he could forgive the unthinkable.
I can’t think of a better Christmas than one spent in thanksgiving of the life He lived
so that we would never die.

–Hallie

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