his house is packed to the rafters. My gifts are wrapped and my cards are in the mail. Everything looks glittery and bright. Our wood stove is nearly always crackling with warmth. There are tins full of homemade cookies that remind me of other winters, and other Christmases. I see flakes drifting from the sky and feel a thrill of glee.
Yet there sits, lodged within me, a very adult awareness of life passing-- things flitting by. My littlest child has begun to walk. A friend just lost her nephew in a crash. Loved ones still refuse to surrender their lives for a Saviour. . . A very wise woman has told me, repeatedly, that she is not a pessimist, only a realist. I have stubbornly insisted that we must all be optimists. We have been given lasting Hope, haven't we? But perhaps I am beginning to see.
The world is full of a resonant beauty, that reflects the God who made it. There is deep and abiding loveliness in the things that are truly good--there for all who know Him to see. But there is a darkness that has tainted so very much of it. As we grow older, more of the darkness is exposed to us, in all it's ugliness. After awhile, what was once a youthful giddiness at life's possibilities and abundant offerings, is tempered by the truth of a fallen and fading world.
I find Joy easy to come by. And Peace is always near to me. But I have walked in green pastures all of my life. My God has seen fit to unfurl this season of my life alongside quiet waters. Slowly, every so slowly, my eyes are being opened to sad, dark things around me. And I see that I am being called to run from the green pastures of my youth headlong into the darkness. The Joy and Peace I find pressing against the insides of my being can be put to use out there.
This Joy I have. That has been rooted and allowed to grow strong. Anchored so deeply it can't be torn from me. I give it to you. Not because it is mine to give. But because I am a vessel, among so very many vessels, within which it dwells. Please take it. Take it. And live.