The Overflow! where souls are filled and faith is spilled

When Heaven Intrudes Upon Earth

I can’t believe the twelve days of Christmas are upon us. Soon we will celebrate the miracle of Christ’s birth.  But I don’t want my Christmas accolades to be contained to one day. I want Christmas to interrupt my life. I want the hope of Heaven to break through the piles of laundry demanding to be folded and the piles of Christmas cards begging to be sent. I want Christmas to interrupt my life just as the seed of Christ planted in a young girl’s womb interrupted a young couple’s tidy plans. I want Christmas to intrude upon my life like the angels who jolted those meager shepherds into worship on a starlit hillside. I want Christmas to interrupt me- to shake up my long list of to-dos, to invade all of my planning and going and doing. I want Immanuel to intrude upon my daily reverie and leave me awed and humbled by God’s outrageous plan to rescue His wayward children. 

Right now as I begin my dayin the quiet glow of the Christmas tree, the worshipper within me screams “PAUSE.” I feel interruptible and reverent. Hope-filled and calm.  But yesterday when I battled a swollen crowd in the skinny aisles of WalMart just to restock our dwindling supply of toilet paper (should have bought a case of Charmin in November!), I felt hurried and edgy. I wasn’t seeking His face in the long lines of shoppers. I was looking at my watch and calculating my lost time. I was revising my mental to-do list and wondering how I’d get it all done.

If truth be told, I am not always interruptible. Just as much as this sweet season is marked by excitement and anticipation, it is also hemmed with frustration.How do I let the Lord break through my little world when I am spinning from one child’s activities to the next? When homework help and basketball games, Christmas programs and caroling parties sprinkle our schedule?   How does a mom of five rise above the tide of to-do’s and absorb the enormity of Advent’s end? How does a woman buried in potty training and toddler tantrums, cookie-making and holiday hosting open herself up to Divine interruptions when the quiet of dawn has dissolved? How does a carpooling creature hit the breaks and linger at the manger? Or even just slow down long enough to spot the star? 

The question posed in my Advent devotional this morning looms large, and I’m begging God to use these simple words to intrude upon my soul today: Do we, who are busy preparing for Christmas, parties and presents and decorations and food and church programs- and visitors- do we prepare with equal fervor for the visitation of the Lord?  What sort of Advent is this imminent Advent for you? If you are consumed by one more Christmas (one mere Christmas among two thousand) your Advent is fleeting, time-bound, and likely self-absorbed…. But if your participation in this temporal  Advent truly signified preparations for the final Advent, you are Christ-absorbed.” (Walter Wangerin Jr. Preparing for Jesus,).

At the moment, my children are tucked safely in their beds, and morning’s darkness wraps our home in atypical silence. I am alone, left to wrestle with my tired body’s plea for sleep and my hungry spirit’s cry for nourishment. I pick up my Bible and read of a young woman whose soul magnified the Lord (Luke 1:46-49). I want mine to do the same. I read of a child who “grew strong in the spirit,” (Luke 1:66). I long to grow like that, too. I read of a young carpenter who traded his comfortable life blueprint for the Lord’s wild plan (Matthew 1:20-25).  I, too, want to embrace God’s dreams even if they don’t make sense. 

But in a few moments when my preschooler pads down the hallway with his blankie and a monster truck book that needs to be read, will I still yearn for Heaven’s break-through?  When  the washing machine’s constant hum invades my quiet, when screams shatter my stillness, when tattle-tale reports muddle my mind, will I listen to my morning’s heart cry?

Will I be radically marked by His Divine Intrusion or will I just continue marking time?

I want Christmas to change meMoment by moment, I want to make room for my Savior as Mary made room in her womb. I want my soul to dance in His presence like the in-utero-John the Baptist leaped in response to his unseen Lord. I want to live in the light of Advent until my faith becomes sight and I fall into the arms of my Christmas King. 

Show me how, dear Jesus, show me how. 

The Overflow:  “And Mary said, “My soul maginfies the Lord, 

And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…”

-edited repost, Dec 2010


One thought on “When Heaven Intrudes Upon Earth

    I am not sure there is a mother of 5 who is able to pause for the savior like you do! 🙂

    December 19, 2011 at 3:01 am

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