On Holidays and Heart-Readiness

December 10th, 2012 § 4,573

I was having tea with a friend recently, and she told me that she felt “heart-ready” for the holidays.

She meant that even though her house wasn’t clean and the decorations weren’t up and her Christmas shopping was no where near complete, she’s longing for the season where we make it a point to celebrate extravagantly and dwell in joy and linger with people we love.

I know just what she means.

If I were to choose one thing I’ve been reminded of again and again these last couple months, it would be the reality of profound brokenness that is in and among us.

There is, of course, the small matter of my internship at the Women’s Shelter. It goes without saying that my time there has exposed me to explicit brokenness. It’s every bit as yucky as you’re assuming—picking up crisis calls, picking out indicators of intimate partner violence, picking up a woman whose being brought into the Safe House in order to flee her abusive situation. The even yuckier truth is that this work is far less sensational and vastly more ordinary than you want to believe.

Then there’s the people I love and would give my life for, who are exhausted and aching in all kinds of awful and understandable ways. Friends who are suffering under the weight of brokenness that intrudes their minds and bodies and hearts and relationships. They long for healing, long to let go of the hurt, long to know freedom. And I long for them. And with them. Because, let me tell you, we haven’t even scratched the surface of my own paralyzing fears, my own crippling insecurities, my own selfishness and self-addiction.

Indeed, there is cosmic and profoundly personal brokenness in this world.

But that’s where our heart-readiness comes in. By divine mercy, advent arrives to legitimize our despair and rescue us from it once and for all. We sit in our disarray, and wait and yearn and ache until extravagant hope appears in the form of God Incarnate—entering this mess as a beautiful, vulnerable, newly-born baby, who will one day restore all things to abundance.

Oh I love this! I LOVE this!

Nothing could be more crazy-audacious or mind-bogglingly beautiful.

One of the wisest people I know on these matters says often that what we need in our chronic condition is not good advice, but good news. Good news that we can have profound and legitimate hope right now, smack-dab in the middle of our brokenness. Good news that we are loved beyond measure, chosen since before time, and highly sought after by a God who entered the scene through the womb of a woman to be with us, and to pour himself out for us.

I don’t know about you, but I need this news now and yesterday and tomorrow. I need this news because for me it is the source of deep joy, whole-hearted celebration, and immense freedom.

I am broken, and thereby, heart-ready as I’ll ever be for this holiday.

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