Friday, December 27, 2013

You Are A Joy!

Forgive me if this post is a bit stream of conscious, but these are thoughts that have been rattling around in my brain and seem to be finally coming together (it takes them longer to bump into each other when kids keep diverting them.)

When was the last time you were told that you were a joy? Not a joy to work with. Not nice. Not helpful or sweet or funny or fun.
A joy. 
A source or cause of delight and great happiness.

It isn't a compliment to be taken lightly. Joy is not a simple state but an elevated one. It is one not easily shaken because it runs deep. Yet this is exactly what God tells each and every one of us at Christmas. "You are a joy."You are His delight. It is hard to imagine that we could ignite in God such a statement and yet we do, though not by our own merit. God did not send His Son because humanity had done enough good deeds or scored enough points on His chart to merit a gold Christmas Star. 

God loves you so much that He gave you the most precious gift He had to give: His Son. Those of us who have children have some idea just how very valuable a gift that is. When the option is to give your child, it is a lot easier to give yourself. You'd rather risk anything to yourself than your child, yet He entrusts His Son not to angels but to us. And He does so in the most gentle manner possible, as a newborn baby. Nothing brings us back to the foundations of our humanity like a baby. He comes to us helpless, asking us to care, calling us to be gentle, careful and quiet. 
"The date is December twenty-fifth, but to the humble man, it is Christmas; the manger is a throne; the straw is royal plumage; the stable is a castle; and the Babe is God. He found Power because he was weakness, and the Infinite, Immense and Eternal God, because he was little – for it is only by being little that we ever discover anything big.
He lies upon straw on earth and yet sustains the universe and reigns in Heaven; He is born in time, and yet He existed before all time; Maker of the stars under the stars; Ruler of the earth an outcast of earth; filling the world, lying in a manger. And yet the proud man sees only a Babe. The humble, simple souls, who are little enough to see the bigness of God in the littleness of a Babe, are therefore the only ones who will ever understand the reason of His visitation. He came to the poor earth of ours to carry on an exchange; to say to us, as only the Good God could say: You give me your humanity, and I will give you my Divinity; you give me your time, and I will give you my eternity, you give me your weary body, and I will give you Redemption; you give me your broken heart, and I will give you Love; you give me your nothingness, and I will give you My all.
Thus the birthday of the God-Man is the children’s day, in which age, like a crab, turns backwards, in which the wrinkles are smoothed by the touch of a recreating hand, in which the proud become children, and the big become little, and all find God." Archbishop Fulton Sheen, "The Eternal Galilean"
God approaches us in the most non-intimidating, tender and loving manner possible to give us Himself. Christmas is where we each meet Jesus for the first time. It is in a manger that He is revealed to the world, but it is where our journey only begins. Christmas is an invitation to draw closer to the One who loves you in ways you cannot understand. From Christmas, we embark on a journey, growing in our relationship with Christ, treading deeper into the mystery that is the Almighty. And each of us walk a different path with Christ. God loves each of us so much, that He is willing to walk the journey a different way with each and every person, leading them along the way that is best for them.

We are all in the process of being cleansed in the fire of the Holy Spirit. I used to think I was right about a lot more than I was (not in the sense that there is no transcendent Truth, but that there is not only one "right" way to reach that Truth) and one thing I’ve learned is that everyone is different, everyone approaches God a little bit differently, and God calls everyone along a slightly different path, speaking a little differently to each of us. And that is wonderful! It means we are not all the same, not to each other and not to God. He made each of us so unique that our relationship to Him is unique from everyone else’s.

For some, Pope Francis is welcome and refreshing while others still miss Pope Benedict XVI. Some love to cosleep while others prefer a baby in the crib. Some homeschool while others get involved in their child's PTA. Some women wear a veil to Mass while others prefer the rosary as a devotion. Some prefer the Tridentine Mass, others the Novus Ordo.

Diana over at Diana Wrote blogged about each person having their own love language with God:
Some of our love languages are journaling. Carving out sacred time to worship alone. Writing in between the kids or work. Alone at a coffee shop, rocking out in the car, snuggling up to our children to read their Bible and pray. Cooking in the kitchen while talking to Him. Praying with our husbands at night. ...
All of the ways we choose to worship our God are lovely to Him. ...
He wants us to love Him in ways we enjoy, and if reading the Bible cover to cover makes you want to stick a fork in your eye – then don’t. Even if your friend does, and she loves it. That is HER love language.
Let’s find how we adore spending time with God and choose to do it more and with greater awareness. Find your Love Language to Him.
Each of us has such a unique relationship to God that each of us require our own love language to draw us into the depths of prayer and the heart of God. Even if some ways seem similar, we are each so different that every path is unique. Your path is especially and solely designed by God just for you. No one else can tread that path with you and no one else can do it for you. It is yours and yours alone, a gift only for you if you accept it.

It is important to remember this when we feel compelled to compare ourselves to others. There is no comparison. When the "mommy wars" rage, remember that every mother is different, every child is different, every family is different and what works for one cannot be assumed to work for another. Everyone needs to respect everyone's differences and we can never fully understand where another person is coming from.
But the flip side to that is that we do not need to feel less or more than anyone else because we are wonderful in ourselves. What may seem to isolate us from others rather distinguishes us but unites us, because while we each walk our own path, we are all heading the same direction and to the same destination if we accept His invitation and let Him lead us.

The one-of-a-kind road God has laid for you is a courtship, tailor-made, because He wants you with Him that much, you mean that much to Him. To Him, you are a joy, and at Christmas we revisit His beautiful invitation to fall in love with Him again and again.

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