Each year as I pull out my decorations for Christmas, I retrieve my favorite from an old hatbox and give it center stage on my living room coffee table. It’s an olive wood nativity scene that was made in Bethlehem. It’s dear to me for two reasons: It reminds me of when I found it in Jerusalem, as I shopped for treasures on an Israel visit, and also as a reminder to stay focused, especially during advent.
As I arrange the figurines, I am careful to place each one just so, facing Baby Jesus. Every wiseman, shepherd, camel, donkey and sheep is focused and gazing on the newborn, Emmanuel.
This year, as I focused my own eyes on Baby Jesus, I was reminded of last December, and how Christmas seemed to be only a blur. I couldn’t even recollect how I spent it! My memory refreshed itself to recall last December I was in the middle of mediation for my divorce. Perhaps my focus was more on offices with attorneys and the uncertainty of my future rather than on Jesus.
This month as I purpose to be still and daily meditate on Christ’s advent through the chapters of Isaiah, I wonder how many others are caught up in the busyness of life, failing to prepare our hearts to receive Him. I know how difficult holidays can be for those experiencing loss.
My friend, Meredith McDaniels, and fellow hope*writer, has written a book entitled, “In Want and Plenty”. I’ve been privileged to take a peek at it before it releases on January 21, 2020. (Be sure to grab yourself a copy- you can pre-order it on Amazon!) It speaks of manna, God’s provision, even when we are in dark places.
As Meredith so eloquently says, “We can fall prey to the paralysis of anxiety and depression, or we can cling to the hope that during all the grief and longing we will be met right where we are by a God who loves us and aches alongside us.” She goes on to say, “We have a tendency to go through this land of longing bound by fear and anxiety that come from loss and disappointment. Yet I have come to see that hope can be found in the ultimate Provider.”
My prayer for each of us this season is to remain focused on Jesus, that we would join Meredith in discovering the hidden manna in our own lives, looking for God’s daily provision. It’s there, friend. No matter what you’re facing, God’s provision of love and grace in Jesus will sustain us, and when we look around, He will open our eyes to see even more examples of His provision. Blessings to each of you as you prepare Him room in your hearts, today!