Notes from Jan

Taking a Tumble Over Truth

December 18, 2015

Heather, Matt, Lily and I squeezed into the pew last Sunday evening,  full of pride and high hopes. Luke and Basil were singing in the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at their church. I’d booked my flight weeks ago to be sure I’d be there when Luke led the procession singing, “Once in Royal David’s City.” His clear voice lifted us above the clatter of a culture too cluttered with noise and stuff for its own good.  I wondered what Jud saw and thought as his eldest grandson swallowed his fear and sang strong,  much like he did at his grandfather’s memorial service last January.

The service flowed until  a  woman reading the Sixth Lesson stumbled over words, too familiar to most of us to mess up.  You know, the verses in Luke 2 that tell of the birth of Jesus.  She did fine on “In those days a decree went out…” Probably most of us do ok with the  decrees that come our way.   We can do what we have to do to get by. It’s when it gets too personal  that we might do as she did and find a catch in our throat, take a tumble  over truth too hard to swallow or a word picture too graphic to ignore.

The book group I’m part of chose to read Ann Voskamp’s ,The Greatest Gift, for our December book.  What a great read for Advent!   Ann writes,

“Hush. Wait. Wait for the coming of the God in the manger who makes himself bread for us near starved…The small Babe of Bethlehem begs us to spend the attention of Advent on the little, the least, the lonely, the lost…..Advent is made of the moments.  This slow unfurling of grace.”

 And that’s what I think might’ve happened for both the reader, me and maybe more as she read.  The “slow unfurling of grace” wrapped around her heart and spilled from her eyes as she spoke words fresh writ by Grace.  The reader simply listed  as, “The Head Chef of Dinner Church” served up a moment.    Maybe God showed up in that instant as bread  for the Head Chef and it caught in her throat when she stumbled into the really personal part,

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”

Those words,  more easily pronounced than believed,  sounded halting, yet came like the steady tapping on the door of my heart to be still and ponder anew this Grace.  And for a moment I sat filled with  awe and  stunned by the audacity of God who became, “the little, the least and the lonely ” for the likes of me and you.        



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  • Reply Myrna December 18, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    I always enjoy your thoughtful comments and look forward to the next.

  • Reply Dale December 18, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks Jan,

    As always, you make the relevant real. I think it was C.S. Lewis who said the marvel is not that we can know God, but that He chose to make Himself known. The only thing I can think of is that He loves us so much He doesn’t want to spend eternity without us. I will have to meditate on that one.

    Have a blessed Christmas, Dale

  • Reply Wendy Lane December 21, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    I just reread this several times. Such good thoughts to mull over. Thank you.

    I’ve read Ann’s “One Thousand Gifts” – very slowly – so much depth in her writing. I’ll have to get “The Greatest Gift”. Maybe for next year’s Advent. 🙂


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