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I’ll Be Back

Really.  I will.

But for now… Look at this cool picture my 13 year old daughter took in New York!

wonder

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Giving In

…I can’t believe I gave in to the Facebook thing.  And that it has eaten me alive for the past 24 hours!  I have to just keep chanting to myself “I won’t stop blogging, I won’t stop blogging, I won’t stop blogging…”

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There’s a reason for the name of this blog, and I’m needing especially to remember that now.

Today, I need to reread the John Newton words that started this all.

Especially this part:

…we begin to learn to trust simply to the word and power of God, beyond and against appearances…”

Because right now, there’s nothing in the appearances to trust.  

The appearances… the reality… they push me to the edge of unbelief.  It’s wrong to approach that edge where I have to admit that sometimes God’s word seems so untrue.  It seems to have so little power: the practice of godliness can become so removed from the preaching of it. 

It’s wrong to question the perfection of the source. 

But it’s hard.  And I’m really struggling to do it right now.

Lord HELP me to trust in YOU, beyond and against appearances.

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My friend Angie, from Bloggin-Dazs, posted a cheerfully curmudgeonly response to the Advent Conspiracy video. It’s worth checking out, because there is probably some good balance pointed out there. (Don’t you love the world of blogging just for that reason?) Her response reminds me, among other things, to keep in check any help-the-less-fortunate-by-being-sacrificial righteousness I might be subtly tallying up points for… Oh how very much I love to try to add just a smidge of my own goodness onto the righteousness of Christ….

Still, as I told Angie, I’m experiencing a pretty profound pendulum swing in my own life right now, away from the “freedom” I have to indulge in all the best things, particularly when that indulgence blinds me to the brokenness around me. I confess: I’m a 21st century American and I’ve anesthetized myself with “stuff” and I idolize comfort and pleasure (and really good red wine and expensive new watercolor brushes and not thinking twice about buying a four dollar cup of coffee and… you get the not so pretty idea, I’m sure.) So I’m standing by emailing that video to most everyone I know (sorry for those of you daily readers who got a double dose of the Advent Conspiracy) and I’m still chewing on how to make my family’s Christmas look a bit different this year.

The GOOD news is, Christ came FOR our tendency to imbibe OR abstain for wrong motives. He came FOR our neediness, because ultimately, we don’t “get it right” in anything we set out to do. Only clothed in the righteousness of that surprising Savior can we stand at all, and celebrate, enjoy, give, receive, relish, crave, laugh, weep, hunger, indulge, share… All to the glory of a God who accepts us as perfect.

Years ago, when I was a potter and not a painter, I used to write poetry for my Christmas cards. (The ceramic arts don’t lend themselves to multiple mailings, but now that I’ve started painting and printing, my Christmas cards usually have something of my year’s work on them.) One of the first Christmas “poems” I sent out was this one that follows, and I thought of it again today as I pondered how we deliberate even about how best to celebrate Christ’s birth. While we’re “trying to get it right,” it seems He’s busy doing what He always does: showing up for unlikely people in unlikely places with unexpected grace.

 

Happy Advent, dear friends. May you find Him beside you in unlikely places.

 

A Savior Unlikely

Once we were looking for Him in a palace

He came in a stable, His advent among us

Now we are looking for Him in a quiet place

A church all in darkness away from the fast pace

 

But Christ is among us now born in this madness

Of gay garish garland and glittering sadness

Once in a stable where cattle must lie

Now in a mall where what’s holy has died

 

What shall we call Him, our Savior unlikely?

Lord of the shopper and Lord of the donkey

Lord of what hardly appears to be holy

Lord born among all that’s showy and gaudy

 

If stars called to stables would wise men still follow?

Only Love’s birth can the unholy, hallow

In Advent midst tinsel and bauble and bead

A Savior unlikely comes born for our need

 

©H. Stevens, 1995

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So, have I mentioned yet that THIS is my current most favoritest most frequently read blog?

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Ok, not really breaking news perhaps, but I’m new enough at this blogging stuff to not know quite how to handle two posts in one day… What’s the etiquette if you’ve already posted, but then find you really really really have one more thing to say???  (Is it kind of like standing in the line for the “adult” bathroom at Rockbridge, then coming out and finding you need to stand in line again??   Awkward!)

Anyway, another thing for which I don’t really know the etiquette is this: linking to a link that provided a link that cracked one up.  What IS the proper way? (Imagine: wringing of hands, furrowing of brow…)  If someone could PUHLLLEASSSE tell me whether the linkee who linked to the original link needs to be cited, that would most wonderfully help my growing blog finesse.  Maybe.

(Seriously: the original reference came from Finding Grace, a blog of no one I know, but which I’ve been newly enjoying.)

In case you didn’t wade through all that (I’m not sure I did either) and didn’t click on anything that made you laugh out loud, let me be more specific: Here’s what you need to read, for your chortle for the day:

Stuff Christians Like: Creating The Holiest Church Logo Possible: A How-To Guide

(By the way, LC: this post, as contrasted with the previous one,  took me more like TWELVE minutes, due to all the linking of links to links…)

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I think I’ve been grumbling lately on my blog, which probably hasn’t been making it very pleasant to read.  And right now, I’m in one of those moods wherein, since I can’t say anything nice, I’d probably best not say anything at all. 

So, in the interest of redeeming myself by giving you a taste of something beautiful, here’s a photo I took last week.  Ellie was driving us home from Virginia Beach and just as the sun was setting, I spotted this and I yelled “Wait! Stop! Go BACK!!!”  (All of which, in hindsight, is probably rather unsettling for a sixteen year old engrossed in her first long distance drive…) But, she learned how to use one of those turn-around-in-the-middle-of-the-divided-highway thingys (the legal ones) and promptly deposited me  a quarter of a mile back, where all the yelling had begun.   Whereupon, I took this photo (and about thirty more like it, since I’m never really very secure in my own ability to capture what I want people to see, when I have a camera in hand…)

October sunset, Virginia

Isn’t that marvelous?  Someday, I think I’ll paint it.  (Maybe right around the time I start working on that first novel…)  So, my new motto might just have to be: if you don’t have anything nice to say, put something beautiful on your blog!

And by the way, my nay saying friend who said recently “Blog?  WHO has time to blog??” :  This will have taken me all of about six minutes to write and post.  🙂

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