One of the essential paradoxes of Advent: that while we wait for God, we are with God all along, that while we need to be reassured of God's arrival of our homecoming, we are already at home. While we wait we have to have trust, to have faith, but it is God's grace that gives us that faith. As with all spiritual knowledge, two things are true, and equally true at once. The mind can't grasp paradox; it is the knowledge of the soul.~Michelle Blake
Last year as I sat on the cusp of 2019, I wrote that it seemed as if I'd arrived in new territory, a geography with landscapes to explore. Pathways to follow. Now as the year winds to a close, I sit in contemplation, waiting for Christmas, reviewing the past year, looking toward the one yet to unfold. I suppose what has surprised me, but shouldn't, is the coexistence of shadow and light in the land I've traversed. Others journeying with me have inspired endurance in the long stretches of desert. I think of my two sisters, one experiencing the sudden death of her husband, the other's husband suffering loss of health. With tear-stained faces, they have looked to the future, believing that God is the restorer of souls. Their faith has been that light. My two daughters lost their father. Gone in an instant. Their tear-streaked faces look forward as well. They mourn and have hope simultaneously. Their strength undergirds my own faith. More light in the shadows. Others I've met on the trail, saw their dreams unravel and decided to believe that God had not abandoned them. Artist friends continued to create, even with no tangible rewards, content to be remain hidden. Alone and together. Joy and sadness. Hard and soft. Laughter and tears. Opposites co-mingling. Inevitable paradox, this side of eternity.
The new year will bring more opportunity for exploration. Will I resist moving onward, because I know that parts of the journey will be difficult, some of the terrain rocky? God help me not to revert to fear, refusing to trust and move forward in faith.
Still He spoke on their behalf and the skies opened up;
the windows of heaven poured out food, the mercy bread-manna.
The grain of grace fell from the clouds.
Humans ate angels' food--the meal of the mighty ones.
His grace gave them more than enough.~Psalm 78:23-24 (The Passion Translation)