Some people get presents under their Christmas tree.
Me? I get a family of 5. 4 children under 8 and their mother sleep on the couches and on mattresses laid out on the living room floor.
It's 5:30 am and I find a place to squeeze in between the pile of children and blankets and attempt to have some "quiet time" by the light of the Christmas tree. I am distracted. Her kids all have a cough and they breathe heavily and toss and turn all around me. Her chest heaves and a small moan escapes her lips. The rain pounds loudly on the tin roof and we need this rain so I try to be thankful for it. I dream for her future. I dream that she'll live. I fleetingly wonder if there are relative who will raise this brood of young ones if she doesn't.
I wonder what their future will hold. I wonder what this day will hold. I watch their chests move up and down and hear my precious ones begin to stir in the other room, and I wonder if I can so it again today, the 17 children and the sick and the broken and those who will come for dinner and just all of these lives with all of their needs. The house is all a-twinkle, and I remind myself of all God's promises fulfilled in a baby and breathe it deep, Grace.
And I am so thankful that Jesus meets us in these squished places. In the stretched places. In-the-squeezed-between-the-tree-and-the-kids moments, in the desperate-for-quiet-on-the-bathroom-floor-because-everywhere-else-is-full moments.
I read Luke. I think of Bethlehem and how it had no room, and I think of how His parents squeezed between the animals to place Him in a feeding trough. The shepherds gazed in wonder but Mary held all this wonder in the silence of her heart. I bet she dreamed of His future. I bet it was muddy and loud in there, but the sky was all a-twinkle with the light of that star, the heavens bursting with joy at God's promises all fulfilled, Grace.
I look around and know: this is what He came for. The King of the universe who created all things, even life itself, clothed in splendor, took off His royal robes, laid aside His crown and squeezed all of the fullness of God into the womb of a woman and then into swaddling clothes in a manger.
He calls my name right here and how I long to recognize Him here, right here.
The squished places and the stretched places, the moments that are loud and messy and uncertain, this is what He came for. The heartaches and the doubt and the wounds that our sin carves deep, that's why He is here. And all this life hanging in the dark of the morning, isn't this why we wait, why we celebrate? Isn't this why we light up the candles and the tree and the house and say with all the longing in our hearts, "Come, Lord Jesus"?
Come, Lord Jesus.
This morning in the dark, in the rain, in whatever mess or squished place or heartache you find yourself in, all God's promises are Yes and Amen, and we can rejoice in thanksgiving! The Savior is here with us, Grace.
His promise is Yes to you, friends. "Yes, I have come, and Yes, I am coming. Yes, I am with you always, even to the very end of the age."
I pray that you'll recognize His handprints all over your day today.