Thursday, December 24, 2015

The baby comes no matter what I do...

As we were leaving for the hospital in January 2001, I remember telling Tim with genuine fear, "But I don't know HOW to have a baby".  His reply was, "Jenn, people who aren't as smart as you have babies all the time.  You'll be fine".  I giggled, and we got in the car and left.

Lo and behold, that baby came out, and it really had nothing to do with my skill or knowledge or preparation.  Isaac was coming out no matter what I did, really.

As Christmas day approaches this year, I find many things left undone.  Our Advent wreath only has one candle lit (which means we totally skipped two weeks of Advent).  We had great plans for it, but life happened and now we will light the rest tonight as we celebrate that baby.  I always make homemade cinnamon rolls, but I just bought canned biscuits to make Monkey Bread instead.  We never took a picture for Christmas cards, and somehow I just never sent any out.  I love Advent wreaths and homemade cinnamon rolls and Christmas cards, and most years, those things bring me great joy.  This year, however, they just aren't going to happen.

That baby still was born, though.  It had nothing to do with my skill or anything I had or had not done, really.  He came whether I was ready for him or not.  He was born right into the midst of my half-done Advent wreath and canned biscuit Monkey bread.  He was born to redeem me and save me, and he welcomes the real me.

I love him, this baby Jesus who was born and lived so well and then died to pay for my redemption.

Friday, December 11, 2015

For the Love...

“It is no wonder humanity has long preferred legalism, which involves much cleaner territory. Give me a rule any day. Give me a clear “in” and “out” because boundaries make me feel safe. If I can clearly mark the borders, then I am assured of my insider status—the position I feel compelled to defend, the one thing I can be sure of. I want to stand before God having gotten it right.”
― Jen Hatmaker, For the Love

This book is still messing with me.  I keep going back in and re-reading the parts I've marked up.  This one...yes, Jen Hatmaker, you are right...the legalism, it can make us feel safe can't it?  I mean, if I've followed all of the rules I've decided are important, then who can argue that I'm not in the clear?

The only problem is that legalism is not something Jesus loves.  I cannot find a picture of Jesus anywhere in his Word that paints him as a legalistic rule follower.  I can't find a list of rules where it says, "don't cuss, drink, or smoke and you are on God's good list".  I can't find it anywhere.

I DO find a Savior who loves, rescues, redeems, invites, welcomes, pursues, and disciples.  I find a man/God who embraces humanness.  I think that if he lived here in my town, he would be hanging out with people who don't have it all together and are honest about that...people like me who struggle with real stuff and don't mind talking about it...for me, it's stuff like pride and anger and gluttony and laziness and gossip.  For the other people Jesus might be hanging out with, it might be things like deceit and addiction and lust and who knows what else.

I think Jesus would welcome our talk about the ways we struggle, maybe even our thoughts about whether or not the struggle is worth it...  I think he would welcome our honest discussion about the shitty parts of trying to live in this world but not of it.  I believe with everything in me that he welcomes our honesty, our authenticity, our real-ness.

This is the God I love and serve.  I will go to the gates of hell for him if he asks me to because he has rescued me and I belong to him.  There is no list of rules...there is only love and belonging which then, amazingly, transform me into his likeness.