We hope you enjoy our Advent thoughts this month from our blog Igniting Hope. “Make Ready” will come to your inbox each Tuesday. If you’d like to continue receiving our Igniting Hope blog in January, update your preferences below; otherwise, you will just receive these through the Christmas season. Our hope is to encourage you and give you a chance to pause and reflect on Christ’s coming. Thanks so much for looking with us for his coming!

Make ready for the Christ

Whose smile

Like lightening,

Sets free the song of everlasting glory

That now sleeps

In your paper flesh

Like dynamite

–Thomas Merton

It is God’s smile focused on us that sets free the mystery of God with us. God in us. God through us. Just like Mary, we wonder, how this can possibly be? After all, we’re only….

The thin-ness of the flesh. Psalm 103 compares us to dust; grass that withers and flowers whose heads fall off. I don’t know about you, but I definitely feel like my head is going to come off some days. Life has a way of getting big and complicated, and sometimes I feel down to my very essence that I am not enough for it. Dust is a good metaphor. Poof, and it’s gone.

Scripture is full of “paper-thin,” “dusty” people. Sarah, for instance. God knew before she ever laughed that she would not believe his word…until she got pregnant. He knew when He appeared to Moses, that Moses would balk and be caught in the reality of his inadequacies. He knew David would serve him well for so long and then get tripped up and almost walk completely away. He knew Ruth would put herself at risk to be loyal…He knew Zechariah would doubt, that Joseph would be distressed, that Mary would painfully struggle with all that occurred. Flesh…thin like paper. Dusty. He knows all there is to know about it.

And he knows these things about you too. The nights you stay up worrying. The days that go on forever trying to get the work done so that… The heartache sitting off to the side yet, always there. Loneliness that nothing breaches. The infirm body you can’t count on so well anymore.

How does it feel to you being thin like paper? How do you suppose God feels about it?

If many of us could have a Christmas wish, most likely we would ask for something that would clear up a hardship in our lives. We would jockey to make ourselves more. More robust, more secure, more competent, more outgoing…more. It feels better to be adequate than inadequate. It’s more comfortable being strong rather than weak. It helps somehow to be the one who knows rather than the one in the dark.

But God says, let me come into your “not enough-ness.” Let the mystery of Me in you, Life out of death, Light that darkness can never overcome, enter into your paper-thin walls. Let me be enough. In you. For you. Let me do what you can’t; make strength perfect in your weakness. He is the ultimate “more.”

You wouldn’t say yes to just anybody. You couldn’t. But what if the One asking is the One whose smile is always beaming on you? How does it feel for him to want to make His home in you?

On that basis, perhaps we, like Mary, would be able to say, “Let it be to me as you have said.”

And it is in those moments of belief, Jesus makes his home more and more comfortably in our paper-thin, dusty flesh.

Image from a blog by Daniel Deforest London


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Like Dynamite