I can't watch those commercials anymore. You know the ones I mean - the extended ones, with pictures and videos of children starving and dying, the ones with the helpful white people walking among houses filled with dark faces. The message is good and I wish I could help them all, but I can't look in their eyes anymore.
I don't turn my head because I want to deny what exists in the world, but because I cannot look at their faces without seeing my girl's face there, too.
This has been a year of softening. There's something about my girl, about giving birth and seeing fragile life become more and more robust, about suddenly knowing deep inside what it means when a child hurts, that has opened new places in my soul.
I first thought the feelings were the result of hormones run rampant, of new-mama-itis, and that it would fade over time. But as the girl inches her way toward toddlerhood, my heart is still wide open.
This Advent, I pray that Jesus will gather the little ones of the world to Him, that they will know His presence and His love even if they don't know His name. And when those commercials come on TV, I close my eyes tight and pray until they're over, for peace and justice and food, for Christmas beyond what they can even imagine.
And as I pray, I find thanks rising in my own heart, (for) . . .
. . . the way she only lets go and walks when she's distracted and forgets that she can't do it,
. . . writing again, words filling fingers and pages, stories that I didn't even know unfolding,
. . . the chance to start over in our lives, and the invitation to live deliberately
. . . the fact that, while we can't afford much, we can afford Christmas this year
. . . that the credit card thieves didn't get away with too much
. . . good endings and new beginnings
. . . that family and good friends will gather, once again, to fill this Thursday with thanks
. . . the chance to teach her about Thanks and Advent and Christmas
. . . the rising desire in my own heart to choose things that highlight meaning this year, instead of rushing around trying to do it all
. . . for peace and settledness of soul about our decidedly not-so-peaceful nor settled future.
Joining with Ann today.