In a Borrowed Stable | an Advent Musing

The story begins like this: sitting in a car with a dear friend, looking out at the vast expanse of the Rhode Island ocean, coming to the realization that this “Grace” word that was used so often in my vernacular, was one I couldn’t define for myself. I looked at the tossing sea-water that echoed so much of the tumult in my heart and I remember praying silently, my friend oblivious beside me, that the Lord would give me His words to define grace. A calling within my heart (and on my birth certificate – though in a different language!). A confusion and a chaos and a desire to understand this word that is the construct and input ingredient of the gospel. What is grace? What is this unmerited favor that the Bible speaks of, proclaims? How do I see it? How do I learn it for myself?

My definition began in the pages of Exodus.

Thousands of years ago, God, in his unshakeable mercy and boundless love, desired to dwell with his fallen people so much, he had Moses craft a tent that would suit him. With measurements, instructions, materials: a movable dwelling-place was built. Just as God required it, in his holiness and perfection. The tenacity of His desire to meet again with His beloved, to dwell again with His created ones defied all that Israel had done before. He brought them out of slavery, into the wilderness, so he could dwell with them there. With a thundering voice, he spoke to Moses on the great Mountain, about the Atonement Altar, the Altar of Incense, the places that were required to exist, just so, to allow for a constancy of Himself there.

It is important to note here, that this Tent he crafted, did not allow for the people, the vast majority anyhow, to Be in His presence. They could not enter into the presence of God. For most, their dirtiness, their mess, their inadequacies had to be interceded for by the Handpicked Ones, the high Priests of the Tabernacle, to merely have their sins forgiven. Entering into his presence was not allowed. They could not reach the Holy of Holies at all. Their relationship with God, though vibrant and full, was limited to conversations in a courtyard. Conversations, whose content I have imagined in recent days went something like this:

Lord, I know the offering isn’t much. I have given you my best lamb, with all of my mess and my wreckage on it, take it Lord God. Just King. My Sins are many. Have mercy on your child.

And so, many eons ago, there was a separation between the Holy One and his people, because though He loved them enough to make a way for there to be atonement, his Holiness did not allow the citizens of Israel close enough to experience his presence firsthand. They had to stay in the courtyard.

In the squalor of a borrowed stable.

On a night in Bethlehem, 2000+ years ago. A frantic husband, trying to find a place in which his wife could deliver the Son. I imagine there was fear, frustration, as villager upon villager in Bethlehem shook their head, and said “We are sorry, there is simply no room in this place.” When the innkeeper, shook his head, pointed at the barn on the hill, and said something to the effect of, “There is no room in this inn. But there is one place that is vacant for the night. Stay as long as you wish.”

In the Squalor of That borrowed Stable.

The Lord who demanded perfection, with measurements and instructions on the height, and breadth, and material, and the content of the offerings, and the ounces needed to be purchased of oil per year, this Specific King, this One who wanted so desperately to dwell with His people that he had the wilderness voyagers of Exodus create for Him the Tent he required, the only place that was fit for Him to stay. This same King. This specific King. So loved the world.

In That Squalor.

A teenage girl, with a swollen belly, lying on hay in a stable at the edge of town. There is nothing put together about this scene. There are animals, feeding troughs, food for the livestock. The donkey that was ridden all of those miles, taking moments to eat after the journey. I imagine there were lambs. Perhaps cattle. Perhaps. And hay. Nothing shined, there was wood and sod and a building that was not built for a king. There was no specificity of measurements, there was no incense, there was no slaughter. There was a baby, born to a young girl and her husband in the middle of a stable. In the middle of mess. There He met us. There. In that squalor. There.

In The Squalor.

Advent: the season of Arrival. When the world takes time out of the busy schedule to prepare: gifts to give. the house to receive guests. the feasts to gorge themselves on. 

Moses prepared. He prepared That temple with precision, in which God could dwell. I imagine him writing down each measurement, deep into parchment, aware that preparing This Place meant delivering on all of the things the Lord had spoken to him on the Mountain during those 40 days. The ark with its cherubim and acacia wood over-layed with gold. Each hanging: on the south side of the court, at the gate of the court, and everything in-between. The Bronze altar. The altar of Atonement. The altar of Incense. The Bread. The oil. And so much more. Forty days communing with God to receive every instruction that was required for the Place of His Dwelling.

And thousands of years later, who could have foreseen that the God-Son would come. To the squalor of a stable that was given to Mary and Joseph for but an evening. That when God became flesh, he chose to be welcomed not with trumpets or gold or marble ceilings and immaculate surfaces but in the mess and wreckage of a stable made for animals. Who could have foreseen that thousands of years after that specific Tent was Built, Mary would lay the Son of God in a manger. A feeding trough. This Savior of the World in a messy barn, in a messy world. How glorious.

In our Squalor.

It was but the beginning of the Lord proving himself to us, as the One Who Would Meet Us In Our Mess. Without preparing a spotless place in which to rest. Meeting us in our wreckage and dirt, embracing us despite the sin that has stained every limb: It Is Here, in this Squalor, that he has promised to meet us, that through Jesus we can meet and commune with Him.

His presence is no longer limited to a seat in the Holy of Holies. He is no longer separated from His People. 

He has met us in the courtyard. In our mess.

It is no longer us pleading in the courtyard that he would see our efforts to eradicate sin from us. He tore the curtain after all.

And we get this because of our Priest. This Jesus, sitting at the right hand of the Father, advocating for our forgiveness based on the sacrifice of Himself.

So Grace.

That unmerited favor I am beginning to understand. A surface-level definition and yet a mountain-peak-truth: a tip-of-the-iceberg paragraph that I am praying will be filled in in the coming days. This Grace that I am beginning to understand.

It is the meeting of holy and unholy, in our mess, in our squalor the Creator comes.

Grace sees the mess. Covers the mess. (Opens our eyes to see the ways Grace does all of this.) And uses our knowledge of the Just King Who Requires a Perfect Holy Place ( the one who requires perfection in his presence) to show us the unrelenting bits of His Mercy: through Jesus’ perfect life, death, and resurrection we have access to the throne room, to the presence of God. And those who believe can approach boldly, in the blood-washed linen of our King.

In Our Squalor. His grace.

So on Christmas. I will be celebrating the beginning of this tangibility, this Word Became Flesh Son of Man who dwelt among us. For in the mess and the squalor of That Borrowed Stable: The Savior of the World.

 

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happiness’

today, i ate dumplings for the first time. 1.25 of pure deliciousness.

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tasty dumpling / chinatown

can we take a minute to appreciate these shadows? all the heart eyes. yes please.

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lowes / 6th ave

if you’re ever in the city, wanting to do non-touristy things (10/10 would rec), the union square farmers market is the loveliest! honey bee farmers with jars of delicious syrup, gorgeously wrapped bouquets, the freshest tomatoes, juiciest strawberries and a whole lotta local love. (open m, w, f)

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farmers market / union square park

waitress was one of the most wonderful musicals i’ve seen. all the of the gut-wrenching tears and belly-aching laughs.

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waitress, the musical / 47th street, b/t 7th and 8th ave

this van gogh quote, stirring up my heart-strings:

happy labor day. here’s to all the little happiness’ that collect around our lives like stardust does to the night sky.

xoxo,

brittanycharis

 

Of Devotions and Storms

 

Today I was reading this passage in Luke:

“And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves and they ceased and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and waters and they obey Him?” (8v23-25)

This is my response:

I like the calm after the storm. The way the water begins to flow softly, tenderly. The way sun breaks through the clouds, pushing darkness to the edge of the world. The golden light that shakes water from tree branches, touches the tips of the waves, kisses light, goodness, and peace back into the places that had, moments before, been places of upheaval.

I like the calm after the physical earth-shaking storm. I like the calm after the spiritual one, too.

The peace. The easy-breathing. The golden days. The light.

And this metaphor is horribly cliche and yet ever so telling of how trials and tragedies and dark times feel. Like chaos. Like disorder. Like darkness. And as I was thinking about the words of these 3 verses of scripture, this seemed to bubble up out my soul.

Storms inevitably rise up in our lives. In places that were once calm, in places that we’ve never been before. They rise. Around us, in us. The kind of storms you don’t see coming that happen in places of joy and peace, are suddenly ripped apart the winds and rain. And we tremble. The ground beneath our feet gives way. We shake. The physical, worldly comforts are removed. We are filled with fear.

In these seasons, how quick we are to ask the King to calm it.

We are taught that He is our helper, our merciful Lord, our sure and steady rock and He is all these things.

So we accuse him of distance and detachment when the storms gurgle and boil and rise.

As our boats fill with water and the waters bubble up within our hearts, fear and trembling and doubts creep in to a faith that we once dubbed as being strong.

And when the Lord returns to view, when he wakes and draws near and calms the wind and the raging waves with but a word, we are filled us with marvel. Suddenly our long drawn out season is but a drop in the bucket, He becomes the “Good God” in our hearts, he becomes the caring, merciful King once more.

And it begs this simple question: “Where [was] your faith?”

The disciples marveled at his ability to calm the sea, once it was no longer a threat.

And I think we feel this same marvel too, when trials and valleys disappear.

But how incredible is the wind?

The waves?

The way the waters rise and surge? The electricity pops and the darts of light that drag themselves across the sky? How wonderful are the disasters? How messy, how muddy, how beautiful.

These things should fill us with marvel. Metaphorically and physically.

They are extraordinary, beautiful, disasters.

I want to be filled with marvel and wonderment in the midst of the flood.

In the midst of the deep. In the midst of the storm. In the midst of fear, in the midst of pain, in the midst of tragedy. I want to see the ways he has strengthened the pain so I might become less. So He might become greater.

May the pain of trial, winds, and rain show you the greatness and

Unfathomable beauty of our Savior and king.

In our weakness, He is made strong.

The calm will come, but until then, be filled.

With marvel.

Xoxo,

brittanycharis

Overwhelming

I love a good published journal.

Anthony Doerr’s Four Season’s in Rome began my love-affair with nonfiction prosety in the form of journal entries. Earlier in the year, in an attempt to get involved with nonfiction again, I purchased D.H. Lawrence & Italy, a published collection that contains 7 short-pieces that are quite descriptive and, as I would come to find, profound.

Nestled in the midst of sweeping descriptions of the Italian countryside was this quote:

“There is the I, always the I. And the mind is submerged, overcome. But the senses are superbly arrogant. The senses are the absolute, the God-like. For I can never have another man’s senses. These are me, my senses absolutely me. And all that is can only come to me through my senses. So that all is me, and is administered unto me. The rest, that is not me is nothing. It is something which is nothing.”

Holy. Wow.

Typing this up to put into this post, it is just as startlingly true and rattling to me.

In summary, what D.H. Lawrence is trying to get at is this:

Everything comes to us through our own senses. Our experiences of events (traumatic or dreamy), words, even food comes to us through that which is singular and tailored to the individual.

So basically, no matter how many times your mom tells you to “put yourself in their shoes,” it is quite impossible. You can’t leave yourself at the doorstep. You do, in fact, bring 100% of yourself and your feelings, emotions, reactions, opinions into every situation and experience.

Let’s put that on the back burner to simmer for a moment.

Just under 2 weeks ago, I travelled down to Quakertown, Pennsylvania to participate in a bible camp as a counselor. The camp always stirs something within the campers and is so heavily saturated with spiritual encounters that we always leave feeling exhausted (because of no sleep) and totally drained because of how emotional it is to meet with the Savior and King. We ask for his Spirit and He always always meets us. What a faithful King.

As we were travelling down, I was praying over and meditating on the Lord, and I just felt Him bring to mind (or focus my attention on) a word that would come to play a huge part in the week.

Overwhelming.

To be quite honest, I had no idea what it meant. But the word just kept washing over me.

Overwhelm. Overwhelming. Overwhelmed.

Let’s put this one on the back burner too. Like any meal there are a lot of elements to this post and story and I can’t explain them all at once, of course. Bear with me. I think it will be good.

This year and more specifically the last few months of school were some of the more difficult I have walked through. Riddled with doubt. Depression. Brokenness became my being. Waking up felt impossible. Going to bed was a nightmare. Darkness swelled, and fear grew, and I thought at least once a day “How am I ever going to get through this?” I think the easiest way to describe the physical feeling of it was emptiness. Utterly numb to feeling, emotion. I felt detached from my body, from my King, from those I loved. Like I was living on a plane on which no one else was.

It hurts to look back on these days because I can still feel pieces of this loneliness that felt like it devoured me.

I remember every day, pleading with the Creator on my bathroom floor that he would redeem the moments, the days, the hours. That he would shine light onto my darkness. That he would be bigger than these moments.

I also remember being angry. When that time on the bathroom floor would end and the minutes would turn into hours and the hours to days and there was no spiritual respite it was this that went through my mind:

My Creator King, my Holy Father was nowhere to be found.

Loneliness. Crippling loneliness.

I knew that He was there. But I didn’t feel him. I knew He would sustain. But I didn’t feel sustained. I knew He would redeem. But I didn’t feel (or see) anything of the kind.

So here I am,  at Youth Camp, expectant to meet my Savior but bringing with me the baggage of last years loneliness, fear, unmet expectation, the broken-heart of all my broken relationships (which at the time felt like it included my Jesus). And here he was whispering this word:

Overwhelming.

And over the course of the week this is what I felt stirring within me. These are the things the Lord crafted within my soul using the broken knotted strings of last year.

As imperfect human beings with a desire to understand all things, we want to marginalize, define, and understand our surroundings fully. We experience life from the time we are born and apply our experiences and our understanding to everything that comes our way. But our god-like senses are horribly imperfect. (The D.H. Lawrence quote fails to mention this.)

In the midst of deep darkness and massive waves I confined his power and love to a mere life-preserver that would grab me out of the stormy waters and put me high on a cruise ship (not even a boat!). This was his love.

I applied my finite knowledge of his faithfulness and decided that from all the ways the Lord had protected and preserved me, this was no different: I was meant to be healed of this! He is supposed to be healing me of my brokenness! His love comes in the form of healing.

Yes. But.

 

His love is overwhelming.

 

He is more.

A Just King, who disciplines to teach, who holds your hand in the midst of the fire (but doesn’t always silence it). He can calm the seas, yes, but he teaches us his faithfulness when the swells rise higher than we ever thought they could.

Life is confusing, yes. He plans all things for good, yes. He is FAITHFUL, yes.

But he is beyond even the written word.

And ultimately this:

His love is deeper, wider, and greater than I could ever imagine.

His ways are higher. His thoughts are bigger than we can comprehend.

I confined my King to a 2×2 box, I didn’t allow him to be bigger than simply being healer because I held so tightly to the desire to be whole.

And when he did not throw the life-preserver and swam beside me instead, I looked at the skies and told him that he was not who he said he was. I yelled

And I screamed.

And I pointed to Psalm 30, saying if he promised the morning would come where was it?

And the way he came into that doubt and that confining tendency.

Oh. I still can’t get over this.

 

Reader, He is an overwhelming King.

Your circumstances are big, I know.

But He is bigger still.

When the night grows dark, remember that our God is greater than our finite human senses and understanding and capacities.

He is far beyond our earthly, imperfect understanding.

His love is more.

Than loneliness.

Than depression.

Than the city that runs you down.

Than the friend who doesn’t understand your Faith.

Than that thing in your life that gets in the way of earth-shaking joy.

He is an overwhelming King.

Whether you want to remember this or not, He is. God is only capable of being BIG in his goodness and love and kindness.

He is always more.

 

I dare you to get lost in it.

To revel in the OVERWHELMING ways of his grace.

In his deep, full, healing love.

In his complete, freeing being.

 

This week, I want to challenge you to spend 15 minutes thinking and writing down ways the Lord has revealed aspects of his love and character to you. When you have written down the characteristics of Jesus, find scriptures that have shown you this and write those down beside the characteristics, so that in the moments when you’re tempted to make him small you can remember the ways that he has shown himself as bigger.

 

He is bigger still.

He is more, still.

 

Get lost in his love, reader.

He is freedom.

 

XX-

Brittany

 

P.S. and if you feel yourself struggling to stop confining him to that 2×2 box, pray.

He desires to meet you, in fact, He will meet you. Our overwhelming King delights to show himself to his kids.

 

(SOME) MY FAVORITE SCRIPTURES ABOUT HOW OVERWHELMING OUR KING IS:

(JOB 37)

(ISAIAH 40:10-18, 21-31)

(PSALM 75:3)

(PSALM 66:4-7)

what i wish i’d been told during a breakup

According to Miriam Webster Dictionary, breakup (noun) means, among many other definitions, to end.
I, however, find this terribly un-fitting, terribly ironic and too…short, to have anything to do with the breakups of which I am acquainted.
break·up /brākˌəp/ (n) (The Brittany / Long-Winded Definition)

Days once filled are now empty. Nights that were once saturated with words of love and future and now, are now filled with dead air, silence, and a dark that is far more than a physical state. The person who was your closest companion for a long time now cannot be spoken to*.

During these times, we lean on others to bring us through. And it is hugely helpful. Until it’s not.


When I went through my first break-up as a pre-teen, the pain was new, fresh, and difficult to comprehend, let alone walk through. Leaving a season of blatant disregard (what many call “teenage rebellion”) was synonymous with a relationship ending. When it ended, I swore everyone wanted to say “I told you so” (they didn’t. blind pride and cynicism coming through!) Regardless – that was a heavy heavy weight to carry: that my pain was hardly justifiable. In this loneliness and lack, my Jesus came a-callin, strengthening my weak arms by showing me that his were the only ones that mattered. Another story for another time, though. I want to talk about the aftermath of the proceeding year’s relationships.

Needless to say, breakups didn’t get easier after that first one. In fact, with each “goodbye” heavier doubts and weightier feelings caused deep sorrows to well up in my soul. I leaned in to each friend and companion I had in those seasons (and this one I am in right now), stretching out newly empty hands to be filled with catch-phrases and words to get me through. With their help, a lot of devotions/crying time, and a bunch of hugs, I learned and grew and healed. But, when my most recent relationship ended, I was again at a cross-roads.

We lean into our friendships during these times and are often met with this simple phrase.

“They** aren’t worth it.”

The time, energy, and emotion you are funneling into their presence (lack thereof) is absolutely ill-founded in the long-run. And eventually you will be able to go weeks without feeling any sort of pain or emptiness in regards to them. However, as I was yankin up my bootstraps and trying to deal with the ache of another broken relationship, I wish I had been told this:

It is okay to feel the way you do. It is warranted. Well-founded. Feel it. Absorb the pain. Let your body understand the ache of empty, the heaviness of broken.*** Don’t try to talk yourself out of the sorrow: allow the wave to build. And then crash. And then dissipate. 

I spent so many days asking myself why I felt the way I did, telling myself it wasn’t right, he just wasn’t worth it. The energy, emotion, attention, etc.

I felt awful.

Healing didn’t come.

Each day was an uphill climb, a series of catch phrases in regards to strengthening myself, reminding me of what I was capable of, deserving of, etc. etc. I fed my soul meals that never satisfied. (“You are worth more than this…” often followed by “He isn’t worth it.” “He’s not thinking about you, don’t think about him.” “Someday down the road a better guy will come.”)

And while, again, many of these phrases ring true, while they offer some sort of antidote to the present in regards to the future, they do not allow the time, space or feeling needed to heal.

When a person is cut away from your life, you will feel their absence, whether you want to or not, whether you (or others) feel it is merited or not. Setting out on a road that you thought would be walked with a specific person by yourself is kind of a huge, heavy, deal. It isn’t something to talk yourself out of.

Reader, if you are going through a similar season, I want to encourage you to allow yourself to feel. Healing requires feeling and experiencing the heaviness, sorrow, and darkness.

So this is your friendly, neighborhood reminder:

Your feelings are valid.

They are well-founded. You are not an idiot for feeling the way you do. You are human. This season is softening you for something around the bend. Allow yourself to understand that though they are temporary, though they will pass, it is okay to feel the way you do, right now.

The Lord is with us in our fear and trembling and does not ask us to do anything but cast the heaviness, the sorrow, the cares on him. He will do the rest. You need not rely on your own strength in this season. The same way we press into friends when the going gets rough, press into him, reader. His arms are more than capable of holding you in your weakness. He sees beauty in your right now, broken and bruised or healed and free. He can be glorified in and through both.

So. Tonight.

In the weakness? In the heavy?

Feel.

And then lift your hands to the heavens, saying:

All glory and honour and praise. To Him. To Him who is able to do FAR more abundantly than we could ever ask, with that which deeply wounds us.

I pray your Monday is restful and that you feel his presence this week in whatever season your in.

He is ever so near to the brokenhearted.

XX-

Brittanycharis

Some Balms (Melody-style)

one | two | three

 

*From personal experience, my breakups were never amicable and I am not saying they’re all like this. But for me, these were the feelings I had and the predicaments I was in.

**That Significant Other You’re Thinking About

***I am not saying to let these feelings command you. They are not in control of you. You don’t bow your knee to the way you feel. Feelings are transient. I am simply reminding you that in order to heal one must feel it and then move on. Moving on doesn’t happen without the in-between step.

my nonexistent christmas cheer

I found it really hard to shop for christmas presents this year and equally as hard to compile a christmas list. 

I kept scouring sites and browsing through well-loved stores whilst trying to remember what items i’ve wanted but have been too broke to actually purchase. and i couldn’t come up with anything. and it was frustrating. it was even hard to get into that festive spirit – around me malls were donning christmas lights and stores were blasting well-loved carols & radio hits, people were wishing me happy holidays and i was doing the same. but i didn’t feel that cheer. that festive brightness. and it felt off. discombobulated. i felt like one of those toys that you get that needs assembling. when you follow the directions to a tee and the darn thing still doesn’t work, you realize that you got a broken toy. 

it’s been a really hard semester for me. A lot of ups and downs. a lot of tears, a lot of depression-like symptoms, a lot of confusion and anxiety. every bad thing i’ve ever had to experience seemed to all bubble up to the surface this semester and it has been h a r d. to let you on how bad it’s been, i’ll give you an example. on the day after thanksgiving, my family was setting up the tree, and i just wanted to sleep, drown out the christmas carols with my drake and a$ap rocky, fetty wap (and some one direction here and there). it didn’t feel right. it didn’t seem right. it wasn’t right. but i couldn’t really do anything about it. in new york city, as i looked at the rockefeller tree and the in-love couples skating away on the ice below…as i listened to the cheer-filled people remarking on the beauty of swarovski star and the starry tree, i felt distant. disjointed from the culture. disjointed from the world. disjointed from joy. cast off from cheer. i felt so not me. 

i was not me. 

here i am: a girl with seemingly everything. 

blonde hair, a pretty okay bod, boys i care for who had come a-calling, a steady job with steady hours and pretty good pay, friends who love me, people who look up to me, parents who watch out for me and want what’s best. all the things surrounding my life were, well, beautiful. 

but they felt ugly to me, empty.

I couldn’t find jesus in any of it. 

Where was He when I was singing those songs? Where was He when the tree lit up? where was He when I was compiling my christmas list, staring at the rockefeller tree, driving to and from christmas activities? Where was He when I looked into the wrinkled faces of those darling folks in the nursing home? Where was the joy of Jesus?

And why? Why was I the only one that wasn’t feeling it?

Calling it a battle would be putting it lightly. My prayers felt empty. My tears felt like they were being cried in vain. 

No one could see. It felt like Jesus wasn’t there. I felt alone. 

And it was brutal. More than brutal, it was hopeless. 

When we joined hands the night of performance, something happened. It was not a “fall to your knees” moment, or a “tears rolling down your face moment” but it was prophetic, and just what i needed. words just kept coming to my mind, words that i was praying for me and also for those around me. captivity. bondage. circling round and round in my wearied mind, weighing on my already heavy heart. 

While these words kept going round and round, this is the picture that i had. 

Captivity: a slave. bound. bound to darkness, bound to sin, bound to doubt, bound to life on earth. feet tied down, the savior was leagues away, and there was no escaping the trial, the valley, the cave of this…thing. wearied, he collapsed. suffering, he fell down. exhausted, he stared blankly at the ceiling. he could not get away and he could not escape and there was no freedom. there was no light. there was no jesus. hopeless. (as I look back on this picture, I realize I was describing myself in this season that I had/have been in…talk about a God thing.)

and yet, Bondage: an anchor, being dropped into the sea. the same concept of being attached to something only this time, it was Jesus’ love. this time it was the ocean of his mercy, the sea of his grace. this time, it was hopeful. this same man was all of a sudden freed because of the captivity. no longer was this a chain attaching him to the bad, the fall, the sin. this was an anchor, attaching him to the only hopeful thing of this world. 

I share this with you to encourage those of you who are having trouble having that Christmas cheer. Because we have bowed our knees to our creator, we no longer have to feel the captivity of this world. We can rest in the bondage of our Saviors love. 

The great I Am came as a babe. A helpless, weak baby. With small features and delicate fingers, a fragile being, dependent on Mary’s care. The one from whom all strength emanates from had to depend on human care. The King of Kings, the Artist, the Star Placer, lay in an animal’s feeding trough.

He grew up like a young plant, like a root out of dry ground. he had no form or majesty that we should look at him and no beauty that we should desire him. he was despised and rejected by men. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53)

BUT

Christ Jesus who though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, EMPTIED himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

Being found in this weak form, he humbled himself. 

The great I Am, humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 

His last breath, saturated with the weight of a million sins, broke the chain of captivity. 

In its stead, this captivity was replaced with the bondage to his love. 

And now we are slaves of righteousness.

Holiday cups, Perry Como christmas albums, peppermint mochas, mistletoe kisses, performances, loved ones coming home from college, gifts bought and received, even laughter, cannot give us that kind of joy: the joy of KNOWING Jesus, and being BOUND to his freeing love. 

Be of good cheer today, friends. 

Christ Jesus is Lord.

And on your shoulders has been placed the full weight of his never-ending, ocean-overflowing, perfect, wholly good love.IMG_1600

a very merry day

merry christmas, my dears!

I cannot believe the 25th of December is already here [ and has basically already gone! ] It has been such an amazing year. And though it was filled with sorrow and tears, laughter and smiles were in equal abundance. I think it’s very easy to get caught up in the wonder of the physical season of Christmas – the lights, the tree, the love, and the gifts. It’s easy to focus so intently on sales and stores, on gift-wrapping and budgets that the actual focus of the season isn’t clear. This season, I had one thought that coursed through my mind from December 1st to now.

Jesus was born in a stable, because in Bethlehem, on the night that contractions ripped through Mary’s stomach, there was no room for him in the inn. Despite the fact that he was the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, the creator of the beginning and the end, He was forced to be born in a cattle stall. He took is first breaths in a musky, dirty, barn, surrounded by livestock. So, going into this season I wanted to make sure that I prepared him room in the inn of my heart. He shouldn’t be forced into my barn – he should be in the inn.

Today, despite the abundance of beautifully wrapped gifts, yummy, steaming food, and worldy pleasures…I hope and pray you experience the joy and the peace found when you prepare Jesus room.

You are some of my favoritest humans, and I surely hope and pray that this Christmas is a wonderful one. And I pray that this year is more filled with the love of the Savior than ever before.

You are beautiful. [ yes, you! ]

xoxo,

brittanycharis

@britt_e: “9:33am | Christmas Day | Silence + Serenity”