- Sonya Leigh Anderson
'Tis the Season
It’s the fourth Sunday of Advent and I come home from church and write the words on my kitchen chalkboard, a partial acrostic:
I’d written it first on my sermon outline, inspired by Pastor John’s morning message. Everlasting Father—the third of four titles taken from the prophet Isaiah, the perfect outline for an Advent series. And of course it reminds me of another Advent Sunday, eight years back, when Pastor Mike spoke of the Prince of Peace. And the Peace of Shalom.
Now here I am again on a Sunday morning, and I find myself praying specifically for a miracle of God’s peace provision. Thinking about the upcoming season, and the nonstop entertaining between Christmas and New Years. Fill this house with peace and joy. And my own heart, too. Knowing my limitations and how I can get lost in the details with all the commotion.
Our bunks will be full, and the guest room, too. We’ve even rented the Airbnb, two doors down, for an extended family New Years reunion. ’Tis the season we’ve been waiting for all year long, and I don’t want to miss it. Don’t want the chaos to blind me to the season’s joy. And so I ask it. Boldly.
God, I need your PEACE to truly enJOY.
Moments later I’m lighting the fourth candle in my Advent wreath, picking up my beloved leather-bound Bible, taking a blanket to my favorite chair. Genesis 45. Psalm 31. Matthew 20. And an Advent reading. Twenty-four hours later I try to remember what happened. Identifying texts, but unsure of exactly what I was reading when the miracle began. Just remembering this sense of certain surrender. An invitation.
You can glance at glory while fixing your gaze on the things of this earth.
Or you can glance at earth while fixing your gaze on the Father’s Glory.
Pastor John’s words, and I wrote them down, as he continued…
Talk of surrender.
And of course Christmas calls for surrender. Letting go. Letting go of
a clean ordered house
Letting go of my peace of quiet, and the sugarplum visions dancing in my head.
(I’m seeing it now through this miracle vision)
is something more…
There’s letting go. And then there’s receiving.
Shalom-surrender is also something He gives.
Something He gives
when I gaze
at His Glory…
Very soon my Christmas house will be filled to overflowing, which inevitably means I have lists to make, and errands to run, and food to provide. It means adding one more gift every time I say out loud, “The shopping is done.” It means saying yes to hosting one more dog, and inevitably it will mean cleaning my own dog’s barf from the entryway rug. It means board games and ice rinks and puzzles and toys—entertainment enough for four generations. And clearing the closets so toddlers can nap. It means commotion. No doubt about that.
There’s no letting go of the chaos of Christmas.
But there IS surrender. A miracle, really.
This letting go to receive His rest.