We're waiting for Christ to come.
It is only Christ alone who can make Christmas.
Ann says these words in the book she so generously offered for free. The Jesse Tree Journey.
Last night it was cold and marshmallows were needing to be roasted.
We gathered around a fire outside and feasted on their yummy goodness in preparation for Advent words from the Father. When Max who doesn't eat them only roast them had more marshmallows on the ground than in our bellies we began the gentle words of the Word.
We smiled at the birth of Sarah's long awaited son, Isaac. At his name which means laughter. At Sarah's words,
. . . I've given the old man a son! Genesis 21:7
We laughed at the words of God making us the happiest people. At my off tune rendition of fa-la-la-la, la, la, la, la. Max stuck another marshmallow on the fire as I silently hurt deep for my baby sister. As I clung to the hope of miracles.
We received our assignment. To keep a smile on our face all day tomorrow. To look for three opportunities to make someone laugh with us.
He's Too Good To Me and I look at each other over the fire, knowing things are tougher than they have been in years, we're not so sure of this assignment.
We are behind so we double up and I had not read ahead and did not know this thought of fire for my children, what would be fun for them, would represent the words to come. The altar.
In moments our laughter fades and Izzy's face is in despair. Her mouth and eyes wide has I read the words spoken by our Father to Abraham.
Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I'll point out to you. Genesis 22:2
What? she says. Mama, no.
She knows this God of hers. She knows He asks things not so easily given. She knows this is possible. She waits along beside us for the coming of the baby, the one God himself will sacrifice.
I hesitate as I realize she's forgotten this story of Isaac. It's been too long.
I don't reassure her and continue to read. She's leaned forward and through smoke I see it in her eyes. Fear of the words coming, fear for Isaac. She knows this is truth, not just a story. She's having a moment we all have, thinking we know more than God, questioning.
I hear the catch of her breath as I read,
Abraham built an altar. He laid out the wood. Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood. Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his Son. Genesis 22: 9-10.
I look to her daddy and see him watching her carefully. Anticipating . . .
Just then an angel of God called to him out of Heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Yes, I'm listening." Genesis 22:11
Yes he was listening. Waiting for a word. He was gripped by fear as he held the knife. His heart screaming to his God to stop this, please find another way. But he continued as he loved God more and he would obey and then our God of the greatest gifts . . .
I hear her release of breath before I hear the small laugh, the nervous relax as I continue,
"Don't lay a hand on that boy! Don't touch him! Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn't hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me." Genesis 22: 12
She breathes deep and slumps in her chair.
I knew that, I hoped that, she says.
I knew that, I hoped that, she says.
First we hoped, and as a world watched our Father came in the form of the greatest gift and gave Himself, His only Son as a sacrifice. To die so we would live.
And now we know.
We await the birth of this baby. Read the story to Max from his Bible. Place the Advent ornaments on the tree. Lay ourselves before as an altar.
And smiling? Some days are difficult and I awake this morning and look out at the cold fire. Bad news and no news hovers and I wonder about my ten smiles today. And laughter - that will be even harder. He kisses me as he leaves and reassures me and I reassure him and love him deeply.
This One and Only God I worship gifts abundantly. And Abraham called that mountaintop "The Lord will Provide." And the provision of Jesus came and He stays forever.