The sun is shining. The sky is bright blue with nary a wisp of cloud. It is 22 degrees outside, but a cozy, crackling fire inside. And yet.

And yet I am preoccupied with worry. It creeps into my mind and I attempt to pray. But this morning I am too easily distracted and so my prayers are stilted. Faltering. Incomplete. With the faltering prayer, I look outside at the sun-soaked day. I sit and watch the fire as its flames flicker and dance.

As my eyes take in the beauty so near to me, my heart reminds me that God is all around me. He is ever present and persistent. He sits with me and comforts me. He knows my needs before I speak them.

But I speak them anyway. It is my small act of faith to his constant faithfulness.

Even though I stumble with words. Even though I cannot keep my mind focused on Jesus, but instead stare at the waves of the storm that surrounds me. Even though fear wells within.

Even still my heart whispers truth to my mind. God’s truth.

God’s truth that God’s promises remain true and that I can trust them. God’s truth that He will not leave me. God’s truth that today I will receive the things I need.

How I need God’s truth. How I crave it. How I long for the coming of the Savior that we will celebrate one day. The second coming. The coming of the Savior that will bring me home.

But for now, I wander through this land, seeking the Star that will lead me back to the first coming of the Savior. The birth of God as a baby. The birth of hope for broken people wrapped in skin. The birth of relationship in the form of God’s Son wrapped in swaddling clothes. The birth of grace for a hurting world wrapped in a mother’s love on a cold night.

The birth of love in the form of the Word made flesh.

I carry these truths like treasures in my heart and I whisper yet another stilted prayer.

Sweet Jesus, my mind turns too easily to worry over money and bills and Christmas gifts for little girls. My mind fills with things over which I have no control. I entertain fear when I should embrace hope. But it is you, Jesus, that I need. When worry creeps into my mind, sweet Jesus, I choose to speak your name.

I choose to give thanks.

I choose to give thanks for the people in my life. I choose to give thanks for the blessings you pour out on me each moment of this day. I choose to thank you for this day’s bread. I choose to thank you that there is food enough for today. I choose to give thanks that there is a warm place for us on this cold day.

I choose to give thanks for peace that passes all understanding.

I choose.

I choose this Advent journey to Bethlehem. I choose to cradle joy in my heart.

If I am to prepare my heart, my life, my mind for Christmas, I must choose you, Jesus. Right now. Only then can I banish fear and ward off worry. Your perfect love casts out all fear, all worry.

Your presence bids me to rest in you. And really, what more do I need right now?

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