Saturday, November 25, 2017

"and I want to remember..."

"When children play on Christmas day
and snow is flung,

When I feel I haven't had a friend
since I was young,

When I'm feeling tired of myself
and everyone,

Lord remind me,
Lord remind me..."

This post (from last year) is my invitation to join in an "advent" celebration of the 24 questions and answers from the chapter "Recapitulation" from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. This deep, and reverent, dive has been transformative for me.  

But, this post is about so much more. It is about the meaning and power of Christmas in our lives. I hope you find it helpful -- and hopeful -- as you enter this blessed season....

I was looking for an Amy Grant song to keynote an earlier post when I stumbled upon this exquisite song by Jon and Valerie Guerra on Amy's Facebook page.

Sometimes a song comes along that begs its own post, "Lord Remind Me" is one of those songs.

The holiday season -- from Thanksgiving to the year's end -- has always been my favorite time of year. I cherish long-held traditions and nurture new ones that have found purchase in the sweet soil of our family home. The tree goes up the day before Thanksgiving, White Christmas. Little Women, The Holiday, and Love, Actually fill the screen that weekend. Then comes the Christmas music -- too many favorites to note. 

One of my favorite "traditions" comes between December 1st and the 25th, when I pray with each of the twenty-four questions in the chapter, "Recapitulation" from Mary Baker Eddy's textbook for spiritual healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures as my version of an advent calendar. One question deeply pondered, each day, as we move towards Christmas.

But this year, while many loved traditions have been carried out, I have felt a bit detached. Perhaps it's because its the first year that none of the children were here for me to lasso into choosing the tree, watching White Christmas, or baking pies.  And although I felt a bit sad, I wasn't really doing anything about it. I was aware that the tree went up too quickly and I was alone in the kitchen while I baked cookies and listened to White Christmas, but I chalked it up to our version of empty nest syndrome after over three decades of day-to-day parenting.

That was when I came upon "Lord Remind Me," and fell to my knees. The true meaning of Christmas came alive in me. This wasn't about trees and cookies, films and carols. It wasn't even about traditions long-loved. It was about something timeless and humbling. It was about remembering that nothing was impossible to God. It was about forgiveness and healing, about kings that kneeled before a baby, and a boy who trusted angels. It was about a girl who said, "yes," and the message of "on earth peace, good will to men."

Is there anything we need more today? Is there any message more timely, or a time more hungry for this message?

As Jon and Valerie sing with such reverence and humility:

"when I hear the news,
and hear another war's begun,
and I wonder if God's
on the side f either one,
I hear bullet, nail, or handcuff
you bore all of them,
and in the light
my heart's as dark as anyone's.

Lord remind me, Lord remind me
that the shepherds head the angels
break the silence in the field,
that the wise men found a baby
and they could not help but kneel

Lord remind me, cause its Christmas
and I want to remember..."

And I do want to remember. I want to feel the power of this story drive me to my knees. I want to feel it change my heart and break through any sense of brittle self-certainty and icy indifference that might have gathered, like frost, on the tender places where I want to feel the heartbreak of my brothers and sisters in Aleppo, or Chicago, or Washington, DC.

There is a sweet, holy cry for the Christ to enter the manger of our hearts in this song:

"Tell me, how He loves me,
tell me, how he wants me,
tell me the story
like I've never heard before..."

This is the part that broke through to the softest, deepest part of me. The words split me open and love for Him spilled from every part of my being. To think what he gave. To remember what he did. To know his love -- it is everything.

"...and I'll sing it
like the angels sing it,
with my whole heart sing it,
to Him who's worth
a thousand songs and more..."

Hymns and carols came alive in me. My heart was an angel's heart singing from the stars. I walked out into the cold night and sang for him who loves us so. I lifted my voice in praise, and hope, and humble adoration for the child who brought kings to their knees, and for the man who would be king of kings.

I sang through tears of repentance and joy:

"Glory in the highest,
glory in the lowest,
glory that shines when nothing
seems to shine at all

Glory in the highest,
glory in the lowest
glory, Immanuel..."

And isn't this the message of messages, "Immanuel..." which is translated, "God with us..." So tonight, I raised my voice to the heavens and sang, "Glory in the highest, glory in the lowest, glory Immanuel..."  Then, a flock of geese rose from the lake, circled above, and -- I like to believe -- carried that message in their own voices to the far corners of the earth.

offered with Love,


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