Outside the Gate

Outside the Gate

The world right now feels a bit like an eggshell, like that thin film that coats the inside of the broken egg is all that’s holding people together. I don’t know what the big answers are. I don’t even know what the right words to say are.

Last week in the middle of all the election cacophony when my head thrummed with a thousand questions about what all this would mean for our daughter, for the visa she will need to enter the U.S., for the harsh rhetoric surrounding immigrants, I was reading Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way. Ann shared a story about Gordon, a man without a home that Ann’s brother brings to her house asking her if this man can stay with Ann and her family for a little while.

You are where you are for such a time as this. Not to gain anything, but to risk everything. Gordon doesn’t need me to beckon more than once and he’s in the cool of the house, yanking off those boots. I’m in the kitchen finding a cup. My brother’s standing in the doorway, waiting to see whatever’s coming. The water streams from the faucet like it can’t wait to give itself away and I hold out all our cups for the filling.

I turn, hand Gordon his, one to my brother, and I swallow my own right down. We’re all more than a bit parched.

We could all be the ones outside the gate. We all could have been Gordon, fallen on hard times into hard ways; we could have been the ones fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army slitting our child’s throat in the middle of the night; we could be the one born into a slum, violently raped and left for dead, the one born into AIDS, into starvation, into lives of Christless desperation. The reason you are inside the gate for such a time as this–is to risk your life for those outside the gate. 

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp, emphasis mine

For such a time as this . . . I don’t have answers or even decent words right now. But I have this life–this one life I can risk for those outside the gate.

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Behold, Christmas.

Behold, Christmas.

IMG_2793Behold. Be still and hold on.

When I chose my word for 2014, I had no idea what a literal manifestation it would take in my life. When mid-way through the pregnancy the ultrasound tech measured my amniotic fluid on the low side, my doctor told me to rest as much as possible. I asked her if she had met my girls, particularly my curly-headed Firecracker. She laughed and told me to do my best. This Type-A personality struggled with it, but I knew it was necessary for the baby so I forced myself to rest.

Now, I have a precious newborn to feed which means hours spent on the couch staring at the Christmas lights and those tiny ears and eyelashes and fingernails. I still remember the first Christmas after becoming a mom. I remember looking at the nativity one night and tears welling up in my eyes. I was flattened by the weight of a mother’s love for her Son and even more so a Father’s Love for His children.

As we celebrate Advent, I pray my heart waits in expectation and anticipation of not only God’s provision but of His very Presence. For it is in that wait, that stillness, that holding pattern, that my heart hears, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Emmanuel. God with us. 

Behold, indeed.