Emmanuel, God with us
Let me start with a song recommendation and no it’s not a Christmas carol: All I see by Sinach. Part of the lyrics is the sentence ‘You are in control’. For most of the year I’ve had to remind myself time and time again that God was in control. This was not an easy task.
The past years were tough and 2021 has been the worst year of my somewhat short life. Many times, I experienced life slipping away both figuratively and literally. Pain and chaos have been a constant not only in my life but also those of loved one. 2021 was the year where everything went haywire!
In the midst of it all, I wondered many times if I would be able to smile again, I did not know whether I could stand again and for sure hope was often absent. Many nights I laid awake, wondering. And yet!
Yet here we are, here I am. Ready to dream again, to hope again against all odds. My faith and my hope are cautious but as real as ever. All of this because through it all, God has been present. Amidst this erratic and often hopeless period, I could experience Him sitting with me, holding my hands, dwelling with me. He has shown me gentleness and kindness.
Through blurry eyes, vision obstructed by tears, He held unto me. When I couldn’t move, He did not carry me, He sat beside me. Breathing life back unto me. Calling me forth, out of the tomb, calling me by name, just like Lazarus. Through the thickest and darkest cloud, I found myself in, He led me. There was no light, but He was my light. His words were a lamp unto my path.
I groaned, cried, fought, rebelled, accused and many times I gave up. Yet, gently, patiently, He picked the scattered pieces of me. He picked me up”
This year, I experienced His gentleness, His everlasting, never bulging presence. I fought hard and He held tight unto me. He did not let me slip through His hands. His grip just like His love was fierce, strong, but still so ever gentle.
My faith was shattered yet made stronger. My ritual appeared senseless, still I discovered the beauty of Him. Life stripped me bare, His love clothed me. I’ve been looking for Him in many ways and places only to find Him in the simplicity of being.
This Christmas eve, as I am reflecting on the past year, I can see clearly. I can see The Emmanuel. I can see You, God, sitting with me in the midst my mess. Will this mess turn into a message? I don’t know and I don’t care. My eyes are set on You, sitting right here with me. Inhabiting (co-habiting?) my life and that is enough.
There will be no manger, there is no Christmas tree, there might even be no mass (thanks corona) but today, I acknowledge Your presence in the deepest parts of my life. This year with gratefulness, I receive the hope that you are breathing back into my weary and scarred heart. This year Christmas for me is all about hope in the face of despair and light where darkness would like to take over.
Tis the season to rejoice, and with Mary, My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on us.