Be On Guard

Lots of thoughts flying through my head early in the morning far too often, none of them worthy of waking up before 4:30 am and yet here I am, wide awake and distracted by the “dissipation and worries of life” (Luke 21:34).

It is so easy to find myself distracted and worried. In fact it seems to be my default position. When I am distracted by the worries of life, I avoid being drawn  into the life of God.

And so, this Advent I long to watch and wait…wait for those moments when God breaks in. I long to turn my eyes away from those distractions and turn to the joy that awaits in the midst of the burdens of life. I long to awake and greet the new morn where light shines dissipating those worries in the dawn of hope.

Photo Credit: “The First Sunday of Advent”, © 2013 Susanne Nilsson, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

A lesson in humility…

14572137880_e070006718_oMy little one and I were outside one day, shoveling the mammoth amount of snow that had fallen overnight.

Usually, my then four year old would want to shovel with me but on that day she got bored of that task and began trampling new paths into the freshly fallen snow. She climbed to the highest snow pile on the property and began to chant, I’m the King of the Castle and you’re the dirty rascal. I didn’t even know that she knew about that game.

I smiled to myself as I continued shovelling. I smiled remembering playing that game myself on the top of the highest snowbank in Dashwood ON with some of my childhood friends. I smiled because my little four year old, wanted to be on top and to push her mother to the bottom. I smiled thinking about how much that game says about human nature.

The problem with us as human beings is that too many times, we put ourselves first at the expense of other people. We put ourselves above others in order to feel better by puffing up the good, justifying ourselves by minimizing the bad. Too often we deny that’s exactly what we are doing because it’s hard to admit to ourselves that we aren’t always the most loving or gracious people.

When we ridicule other people in the privacy of our own homes for not living their lives in the way that we do, we are attempting to climb the hill of moral superiority. When we caricature the way other people parent as negligent, strict, or too lenient, we are pushing others down the hill on our way to the top. We allow ourselves to forget the ways in which we too are imperfect.

Too often as mom and wife, I need to be right rather than in right relationship with my family. Once again I realize, that even in this small domain that I call my home, I have a lot to learn. I recognize in me that little girl standing on the top of the snowbank yelling, I’m the King of the Castle and you’re the dirty rascal, and once again I’m humbled.

Martin Luther once said that ‘we are all beggars.’ We all have strengths and weaknesses but to downplay our needs and exalt our successes while climbing up the hill of other people’s faults, all we do is alienate ourselves from one another. What we really need to do is join hands and look to Christ who gave up life at the top to meet us in the most humble place, the cattle stall.

Stir up our hearts and come, Lord Jesus.        

A quiet hush

3192604250_1e0af988d0_oWe got our first big snowfall last weekend. The kids were quite excited and it was fun watching them discover again all of the things that you can do with newly fallen snow. As I was going about getting lunch ready for the hungry adventurers, I found myself surprised by the longing to don my ski pants and head outside to make fresh prints in the white blanket covering the ground.

You see, as I’m getting older, I’m finding the long winters to be more wearing on me, so it is with a bit of surprise that I’m finding a certain satisfaction with having snow on the ground.

This year seems different because with the snow has come a sensation of a quiet hush which brings out in me a desire to turn inward to the life of the Spirit and pay attention to the restlessness that has haunted me throughout my life. I’m finding that quiet hush to be a call to the sacredness of turning toward God, expecting the fullness of the life of the Spirit in the midst of this everyday life that can be so distracting.

So during the busyness of this advent season, I find I’m yearning for some peace, some silence and a longing to turn again to scripture, to journaling, to reading and to song to centre and direct me as I pay attention again to the restlessness that drives me and at the same time distances me from being truly present in my life.

I haven’t written on my blog in a long time, but during this upcoming season of advent, I want to explore the still small voice inside and reflect on just what it means to be a person who is always waiting and forever longing for those better days when the world is right; when the vast interior landscape no longer overwhelms me with it’s sorrow in the midst of an otherwise satisfying and contented life.

Join me on this journey through advent, and perhaps together we can prepare ourselves for the coming of love into our restlessness and experience the peace of Christ.