Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Meeting Him with empty hands

Advent has always been a challenge for me.  I always want to make each day of it full of joyful anticipation for the coming of Christmas.  It's not about shopping for gifts.  I do that, and get it done because it is expected to some extent by the children.  But really it is about making and baking, and that's where it gets crazy because I am one woman with six kids, two hands and only so many hours in a day.  It isn't that I have to do all this stuff; it is that I really want to, and I have to remind myself that I can only do so much, and some things will have to be put off for other Christmases.

I am learning to let go this year.  Let go of my expectations.  Because the only real expectation of Advent is the Lord's coming, right?  Will I berate myself if I don't get at least eight varieties of cookies baked this year?  Perhaps.  Will the kids mind?  Nope.  

It is sometimes a struggle just to hang onto joy during Advent.  It has been a rough year, financially.  Not just for us, but for many people.  Last week a repairman had to be called for the heat pump.  Thank goodness it was a relatively inexpensive repair to get it going.  On Sunday night, our van died.  Apparently, the fuel pump needs to be replaced.  That's a big deal, and we will take money out of savings for that.  This morning I have no water.  Bret will try replacing the switch on the pump to see if that is the problem.  I am hoping it is.  I don't know if I could deal with needing a new pump right before Christmas.

Being middle-aged with six young kids and no income is very, very humbling.  We have a small savings account, and watching it get whittled away is difficult, but what is there to be done?  We are not yet at a point where Bret has to take any job he can, so we are praying, praying that he can find something that makes use of his skills as a woodworker, and something that gives him a certain amount of flexibility.  

I am grateful.  I am grateful that for right now there is a savings to dip into.  I am grateful that my family is in good health, other than little colds and the like. I am grateful for our milk cow, our chickens and meat in the freezer. I am grateful to live in a country where poverty doesn't mean having to watch your children starve to death.  I am grateful for all the friends we have who do so much for us in all the little things they do.  I feel so unworthy.

And isn't that where our hearts should be during Advent?  Poor, grateful and recognizing our unworthiness?  Isn't it interesting how the Lord uses outward things to teach us inner realities?  It is the natural means of learning for us humans, made up of body and soul as we are.  Our Lord speaks to us in parables, and we live them.

Even if you are not struggling this Advent, even if you are in good health, comfortable and enjoying all the pleasures of the season, take a moment to reflect on your inner poverty, your neediness, and all the good that God has done for you, and how very much He loves you.  

Then wait with joy for His coming.

[Edited--after over an hour of Bret trying to diagnose the trouble, the pump began to work again.  I love it when God intervenes directly!]

7 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for writing this Nadja! I needed to read it this morning. My prayers are with you!

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  2. Thoughtful post. I have very high expectations of myself and during times like Advent, it is easy for me to feel like a failure when all does not fall into place despite my efforts. Prayers for work for Bret and for the family. Peace in Christ.

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  3. Praying for you my friend. Here is a poem for you (not sure it will work in a comment box - it is on my blog):

    I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
    I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey;
    I asked for health, that I might do greater things,
    I was given infirmity, that I might do better things;

    I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
    I was given poverty, that I might be wise;
    I asked for power, that I might have the praise of man,
    I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God;

    I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
    I was given life, that I might enjoy things;
    I got nothing that I asked for - but everything I had hoped for,
    Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered,
    I am among all men, most richly blessed.

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  4. oh, friend, i so needed this too.
    God bless you for writing it!
    xo.

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  5. God bless you, Nadja! You are in my prayers...thank you for sharing your struggles and for the reminder that we all need this "slow down." God is ever merciful...yet I know how hard it can be to "rest" in the assurance that He is taking care of all those details that seem so troubling. It is an excellent reminder that our Lord would have us all remember our poverty...that it is more than just the inconvenience of comfort and material needs. He would have us all poor and turning to Him...all mindful of our nothingness without Him. Thank you, again, for a beautiful reflection...and thank heavens your heat pump is working!

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  6. Dear Nadja,
    Praying for you. I know how you feel.
    we are constantly struggling ourselves.
    At the moment we have an ad in the paper for our house to sell. WE NEED this to happen to help us in so many ways, financial primarily.
    I understand your expectations about Advent I do the same every year and to this day we have not had the PERFECT Advent even though I say each year it will be better.
    I am praying for you and hope you feel more at peace.
    You have written this so beautifully adn I am humbled by your faith and trust.

    Would you add us to your own prayers for the sale of our house.
    BTW love the pixie in the post above. So sweet
    God Bless you and peace be upon you
    Gae ♥

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