Are You Ready?

It first occurred to me one evening in church. Exams and craziness had begun, and more were looming. And I was certainly not feeling ready.

I hadn’t been to church in a while. Two weeks, actually. And all semester I’d been pretty lacking, with good spurts here and there and many stagnant weeks. I don’t believe we’re penalized for the weeks we spend out of church. In fact, I wouldn’t even say that not attending church is a sin.  Yet there’s something about missing that makes me feel sad, and something about going that makes me feel right. More than right. Peaceful, a little bit joyous, and a lot more hopeful.

My soul was ready to be back.

But as we stood side by side, singing Christmas carols within the festive sanctuary, my heart began to ponder a question: Are you ready? It came suddenly, fleeting, and mostly unintelligible at first.

On the second round, the question was clear. The same words, seemingly created in my brain, inspired this time by the pastor’s message. Are you ready? Are you ready for Him? 

For Jesus? 

For once, I wasn’t defensive or quick to say yes. Because I wasn’t certain that I was ready and I knew that.

A year ago, if you’d ask me, “Are you ready for Christmas?” I would have replied with a persistent and quick “yes!” Are you ready for Jesus wouldn’t have even been a thought, however. If someone had tracked me down and held me into place over the matter, I wouldn’t have known what he meant.

Ready? Of course. I already did all that “heart asking” and “inviting” so many years ago.

But that Sunday night, after the hardest three months of my life, I suddenly had the knowledge to know that I did not really know. I have never known, and I will never know a lot of what I like to think that I do know. And one of those facts, these pieces of knowledge, which is really not a fact at all, but which goes like this–it’s a question, actually–are you ready for Jesus? 

I tell you, my friends, about this now because it had intrinsic meaning for me. December is the time for Christmas, for a hustle and bustle and a busy season. But as Christians, are you ready isn’t just a matter of having the turkey prepared and the presents wrapped. Are you ready is a spiritual question, and a deeper layer.

Are you ready for the Christ child, the spirit in human flesh, the incarnate deity? 

Are you ready for a miracle that will knock you off your feet? A child born of a virgin, and conceived by the Holy Spirit? A child that is both God and man? 

And are you ready for that child to possess a love so deep that it will save you? 

Are you ready to bow down? 

Are you ready to let God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit–the three in one–in to your entire being, your heart and soul and life and everything

Are you ready for that? I knew I wasn’t, as we sang about Angels on High, sipped coffee, and took communion.

It didn’t make me sad. Just a little thoughtful.

Christmas is overwhelming, but not just because of the elaborate turkey dinner that’s to be made or the 27 guests that are coming. The height of this overwhelmingness doesn’t have anything to do with the gift buying budget or the list of festivities to attend. It is much, much deeper than anything material. Anything we can see with our eyes.

Christmas is an invitation that began with a young girl, who was no doubt inexperienced, uncertain, and downright scared. She was invited into a very special relationship with God, unlike any other before her. It would transcend her body, her soul, heart, and mind. It was a relationship meant for everything, and an intimacy reaching to the very depths. With her acceptance, the whole world was invited into this crazy, exuberant, uncontrollable, saving love. 

Are you ready? I didn’t know why I wasn’t. I still don’t know why I’m not.

What is holding you back? I don’t pretend to know even an ounce of it all. But I know there is a fear–of knowing and of being truly known. Vulnerability is desirable, but fearsome, too. The thought of being naked sickens me, but the vision of being known and loved in spite of everything and anything, and in all the nothingness I am, is immeasurable. 

He says come in. He whispers, Let me near. I love you, and I want to be part of you. 

What is holding you back?

The 25th is coming. We remember the story and the life birthed to us for eternity. The gift to know, and be known through and through.

Will you take it?

Note: THANK YOU for all of the positive feedback to my return to the blogging world. I really appreciate all of the warmth and encouragement. I realized something from it all, and I thought I’d share it with you. Your comments are very important! I’ve actually known this for a while, but I never wanted to admit it because I thought it made me shallow. I’m seeing things in a different light now, and I’m not afraid to admit that I love hearing from you! Feedback, in any shape or form, is very welcome and actually really helpful. It keeps me going with the writing, if I know people want to read more… disagreements and queries are also welcomed as I love to go deeper with thoughts. Thank you!

Advertisements

New

At about 1:00 this morning, I used the year 2012 in a date for the first time. It was funny doing it. For some reason, I remembered back in the January of 2010 when it felt strange not to have the two zeros in the year. I messed it up so many times. This time though, it was just the last digit that was different. I didn’t have to scratch anything out. The new came easily to me on this morning.

I was writing a letter to myself to open next year. It was my friend’s idea and I think it will be a tradition for me, granted that I remember, over the years to come. I recalled my last new year and how happy I was for a change. I remember craving the new like a big piece of chocolate cake. 2011 looked so rich, filling, and sweet to me then.

Writing that letter made me realize how enjoyable this year has been for me. Yes, I had some ups and downs, but it was mostly a year of discovery. I found new joy, peace, and happiness. There was beauty and love and richness. It was a wonderful year.

But now that is all behind me. The new has come once more. This time, I don’t really know what I feel. I am not particularly eager to leave 2011, but neither am I entirely sentimental about it. Newness is good. It is mysterious, promising, and unmarred as of yet.

In my letter, I asked questions of myself. It was strange to ask them now. I wonder what my answers will be next year this time, when this new is old and another new is coming. What will the new year bring? What kinds of new does the Lord have planned?

While I wish I could know right now, at the same time I am happy with the mystery. I have a whole year before me, if the Lord allows it, filled with new experiences, feelings, and friendships. I cannot wait to discover this new.

God, thank you for newness. Thank you for making me new on the cross. Thank you for this year that has now passed and for the new and wonderful joys from it. And thank you for the promise of the new year. Please lead me through the sorrows and pleasures of 2012 and become my even better best friend.