This photo is of my hand carved nativity made from Swedish glass. I love it.
So, to build on my notion of yesterday...Today I was out walking my dog listening to Michael Card's The Promise, which is really one of my all time favorite Christmas collections. Card tells the story of Christ's birth in wonderful and surprising ways. I know most of the songs by heart and sing them heartily. I listen to this CD to a sickeningly repetitive extent at Christmas and of course it's on my iPod as well. So naturally, today as I was walking Tanner, I had Michael Card in my ears. And because our God is a God of wonder and surprise, a song that I've heard a million times before took on a new and significant meaning to me today because of where I am in my own journey. That's one thing I love about God...He meets us where we are in surprising and wonderful ways. And the intentional advent journey opens us up to all of the unique and interesting ways that God wants to meet us. Today, the song that touched me is called 'Immanuel'. So I'm in the park and I'm singing away in my head because outloud doesn't sound all that great and when you have your iPod on you sound really loud and off key anyway, and I get to the second verse of this beautiful song: "For those who live in the shadow of death, a glorious light has dawned. For all those who stumble in the darkness, behold your light has come! Immanuel, Our God is with us. And if God is with us, who could stand against us? Our God is with us, Immanuel. So what will be your answer? Oh will you hear the call? Of Him who did not spare His son but gave Him for us all. On earth there is no power, there is no depth or height that could ever separate us from the love of God in Christ. IMMANUEL, OUR GOD IS WITH US! And if God is with us who could stand against us? Our God is with us, Immanuel.
Of course I was so moved by these words as I thought about our friend Geri and her three kids who are facing Ken's funeral on Sunday and beyond that, Christmas without their beloved husband and father. And the words of the 23rd Psalm...for those who live in the shadow of death, just moved me to tears all over again. To think, that Jesus' coming into this world can comfort the great sorrow that they feel and provide them with hope that lasts beyond their immediate loss just revealed to me in such clear ways why Christmas without the incarnation at the center truly misses everything that God intends for us. In joy and in sorrow, Our God is with us, our Immanuel.