Deck Your Heart

Right now? I’ve got nothing else to offer this space full of Deeper readers then my Advent heart. I am completely consumed by “coming” and would you sit where you are long enough to watch me pour myself all over an ancient manger? Pour myself out even though the thought of giving you my heart feels at least 6 million kinds of vulnerable, as if I were the one spreading my legs for all the world to see while pushing the crown of God’s head into the hay. But, if ever there is time and space for vulnerability it’s the Christmas season; the very act of incarnation, of Christ coming to us bloody and naked invokes all the worshippers to come as bare and forked as possible before the flesh-born King.

I’ve had 31 revolutions around this one stable and at least 10 of them I have beseeched to the Baby therein, “How much deeper can we go this year?” And this is how I begin to deck my heart, with curiosity and fervor and a longing for the provocative nature of this story to mix with my claret-red cells and run rampant all over my veins like some sort of Divine drug. Every moment of Advent-to-Christmas tastes like an aphrodisiac and I am drinking the moments like ambrosia-laced elixir. With my tongue rolling around all the flavors of a Newborn, no wonder I burst with more merry and leak more tears then every other orbiting day.

I want more . . .

Follow me to Deeper Story for the rest of this smattering of my most vulnerable heart-words? Click HERE.

 

What I’m Hungry For

Will you hear what I am hungry for? How I can eat moments like my first and last and only meal?

Moments.

Moments of stillness and quiet, with just enough length to take an extra breath, speak a gentle “I’m here, Abba” and be mindful that behind the air I inhale is another galaxy of meaning and mystery – it’s heaven waiting in the wings for the sprinkling of God-children spread all over the earth to bring a piece of the celestial into earth-time. (Try it and see . . . With just one beautiful, purposeful and God-rich thought in your head, drag in some atmosphere through your nose and I believe you’ve brought the Kingdom here and now.)

I was born with a mystic heart and I could feast on solitude for days, but God gave me a family and made me a homeschool mama and also dug such a deep well of love in my heart for all the people who walk around and straight into my world . . . You see? Moments are all I get and that’s okay, but I’ve got to cultivate them to be good ones otherwise my soul would shrink to a shrivel.

So, I’m praying every morning for a cleansed palette with which to taste all of God in every little beat of space ticking down eternity’s clock. Even more so and especially now that my eyes have gone soft from gazing towards the dawn of Advent this Sunday. We’ll wait the whole day to light the Candle of Hope at night and I know with that tiny flame flickering to life on our Advent wreath my breath will beg to be pulled inside my lungs slow and deep and all the way down to my belly like the way I had to when I was 9 months pregnant; when my body was so full of flesh that short gasps could never fill me up .

That’s how to breathe the Advent air. All the way down to your gut. Because if any air in the world is pregnant, it’s the Advent air – 9 months, pre-labor large with the memory of expecting Someone so big He could only come in the package-size of an infant.

Again this year the moments in our home will glow gentle with hundreds and more tiny twinkle lights on a Charlie Brown evergreen tree and all the spirit-atoms within go hush-hush for the sweet Bethlehem Baby. A Baby that I’ve never wanted to hold so bad and we all wrap Him in our arms with each sacrament and remembrance. We’ll take Him in our arms and clutch Him close to our chests once more, tis the season for new-skin smell and Baby-breath fanning and for swaying around the living room humming lullabies, caressing our flesh-palms over and across a soft, downy, Divine-head. The thermometer around us will shift to temperature still as we supplicate for the deep hope of softening and bending our souls towards the heart of Christmas.

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If any of you are looking for a couple of Spirit-whispers to supplement your holiday season, below are a few resources that nurtured and strengthened our own tribe-traditions.

This is our second year to travel through Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Family Advent Devotional – we all love the way she stitched and crafted The Story from start to finish. If you’re interested, you can download it for FREE right HERE.

John Blase wrote a beautiful little triumph of a book called Touching Wonder. This, too, can be download for FREE over HERE or at Amazon.

For younger kids, this Advent Storybook is our favorite and we are still reading it every year – so sweet and reverent.

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Can I tell you how blessed and joy-full I wish and pray for your Advent and Christmas to be? I’m wrapping my big heart around each and every y’all, okay? I LOVE you!

 

{Image Source}

Christmas Contemplations

“How deep can we go, sweet Jesus-Christ?”

This is not just my Christmas prayer, but I ask it very much stronger this time of year. And every moment of Advent-to-Christmas is a choice morsel and I am eating as full as I can. With tears and great laughter and my tongue rolling around all the flavors of a Newborn and why, again, did You come like this? The question is rhetorical, but must be said for the ache of not being able to wrap my head around such an un-tame and ludicrous fairytale; a Love so unbelievable, it’s unbelievable. I’ve let go of being able to wrap my head, just so I could circle my heart. Time and time and time again. Because tucked tight in my chest is where all the “things-that-don’t-make-sense” go and “the government of the world shall be upon the shoulder of a Bethlehem Baby”, is one of my favorite illogical s.

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The weary world waits in bloodshot and drunken centuries when . . . From the darkness of a virgin’s vagina, there came a great Light–a Child is born in the stable-shadows with floating dust-dots and the large, moist eyes of cattle looking on with beastly affection. There is the odor, too–metallic meets sweat to mingle down next to the dung heaps. And the star-struck-shepherds and strange kings cresting the easterly-hill and nothing is ever the same again and I must go there, too, on this yearly pilgrimage of the soul; this yearly pilgrimage across the desert of my Gentile-heart to meet with The Audacious wearing diapers.

God in cloth nappies and I cannot help the supplication:

“Away in a manger . . . can I lie down next to You? Flesh-to-flesh in a peasant’s feed-trough, with Your baby-breath whispering like heaven on my earthen pores? I would curl myself next to Your lowly born-story and hold You against my cheek-grazing lips, the Baby that knit me together in my own mother’s womb. I would hold You in the skin-itchin’ hay under the looking-stars in the night-sky and I would smell You, just there, in the furrow of Your Cosmic-neck, so close, weeping isn’t a temptation–it’s a waterfall. Am I close enough–here–to know You better?”

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We make sacred–as a family–the Advent tradition and the husband and I fervor to stretch the Christ-Child experience for our three boy-offspring, that their aortas would be tender to this most Remarkable . . . With only the twinkle-lights on the evergreen to guide us through the dim-room, we light the Advent candle representing Light and hold the Good Book right-up close to the flame so we can read the letters that deal in Son-shine:

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has Light shined.”

And with this candle we make tribe-tradition. Over and over we take turns passing the flaming waxen-stick and whoever has it in hand expresses a way that Jesus brings them light.

Seth: “You bring light to me when I see the joy on other people’s faces.”

Jude: “You bring light to me when I see my family’s brown eyes.”

Gabe: “You bring light to me when I’m running around in nature.”

Mama: “You bring light to me every time it rains.”

Papa: “You bring light to me whenever I laugh with my family or friends.”

You brought us Light when You burst forth and glass-shattered the darkness with the rays of a million and more suns. Glory to the highest God, who went the lowest He could go . . . Glory.

Blessed Advent, my friends. Blessed.

Erika

 

{Artwork by the deliciously talented Emily Wierenga and can be found for purchase here. And linking today with her for Imperfect Prose.}