Merry and Bright

We’re chest deep in the Christmas season, yet I don’t feel merry and bright.

My head is filled with frantic, stuffed to overload.

My brother and sister-in-law are preparing for their last holiday in Omaha before they head to the next stop in his Air Force doctor journey. Changes are coming for our family.

Days roll into one another, so caught in the snare of streamlining my hours, hit the ground running and spin of my spirit just to try and smooth a rhythm in this new off-balance stretch of season.

And, how can I forget—I mustn’t forget—the world’s on fire and the flames edge wilder each week.

Changes are coming for us all.

Where is the calm in the chaos?

The silent night through the storm?

We keep clamoring for more, but more of the stuff that clouds our souls and messes us up. More flesh, more fake, more cover-up to controversy.

But our brittle hearts can’t take much more.

Back home in Wisconsin, the cold cuts deeper here than I remember. Readjustment to here is hard.

In my hand is a mug of deep Ethiopian coffee that was watched as a woman in a bright dress roasted the beans herself over a small fire. Then the bag was packed and stored on board an intercontinental flight, given to me while in Germany for an international conference. I long to board planes that take me to far-off places again and again, a regular routine.

Life sure can bend us backwards.

Come, Immanuel, be with us. Bring us to beyond mere marvel.

Let me bend toward the cradle to a cooing King, where another backwards legacy began.

Such a silent night, tender and true.

But He came at the time when flames of oppression were rising, too. When people needed to breathe, drink in what He later deemed living water. He lived upside down so we would be in right standing with God. It all began with a baby, helpless shiver, soft inhale in of a new world.

I, too, am helpless. We all are. That’s why this hell-bent world is in need of the soothe of heaven’s salve to quench the flames. The merry act of mercy slung low in a stable flashes for us in the dark sky of our soul. Crack of bright white salvation sung smooth among rough edges.

I am reborn once more in the middle of wonder.

Perhaps the snow is falling in quiet tufts of grace.

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