Monday, December 25, 2017

Now what?

The presents have been opened.
The wrapping paper has been recycled.
The food, so much food, has been cooked and eaten.
I have eaten more sugar in the past 48 hours than I wish to honestly assess.
Now what?

I am half way through seminary.
Two and half years down.
Two and a half years to go.
I've forgotten more Biblical Greek and Hebrew than I wish to confess.
Now what?

It has been five years since I was in kanswer treatment and the mourning began in Sandy Hook, CT.
It has been nine years since her diagnosis.
It has been fifteen years since we moved to Charlotte.
It has been twenty five years since I have had a full time job - outside of our home, that is.
Now what?

The truth is that I have no idea what's next. 
I don't know who is next.
I don't know what the future holds. 
But I enter it, whatever "it" is, with wonder.
I enter Christmastide with joy.
I enter with hope.

I enter with questions, too.
I enter with concern, too.
I enter with doubts, too.

And I enter the future with today on my mind.
With the story of Christmas on my mind and in my heart.
With the story of an old woman who became a first time mother late in life.
Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, had to have entered her future with practical questions, reasonable doubts, and great concern.
Her young cousin, Mary, the mother of Jesus the Christ, had a remarkable story of her own.
Unwed. Teenager. Pregnant. Ready to deliver her first child. No room in the inn.
Her concerns, doubts, and questions should have been countless.
But somehow, when asked to enter into her unimaginable future with an unbelievable story, she was able and willing to say, "May it be unto me as you have said."

In other words, what you are asking me to do is crazy, but let it be. 
This is an outrageous thing to ask of me, but let it be.
I have no idea how all of this is going to play out, but let it be.
I'm willing to take the chance that this unexpected adventure 
will bring joy and hope to my people and many more, so let it be.
I'm nervous and unsure. 
I have more than ten thousand questions.
I have absolutely no idea how I can do what you are asking of me.
But God...

But God has mercy on those who fear, honor, respect, and obey Him.
But God lifts the lowly and fills the hungry with good things.
But God has already done great things for me, and I have no reason to doubt that God will remain faithful.
But God promises the strength needed for the journey.
But God assures me that I will never be alone.
But God says that my prayers are heard and will be answered.
But God...

So, Mary said, let it be unto me as you have said.
Let it be, dear Lord, dear God, dear Spirit of the Living God.
Let it be.
Here I am; use me. fill me. empty me out for my people, for our nation, for the world.

Christmas Day is nearly over.
2017 is nearly over.
2018 is less than a week away.
Now what?

What now? 
Let there be hope.
Let there be indestructible hope.
Let there be subversive hope.
Let there be persistent hope.
Hope against all the odds.
Hope against all reason.
Hope that faces unbeaten foes and refuses to surrender.
Hope that knows that darkness has not overcome the Light.
Hope that believes that darkness cannot overcome the Light.
Let there be hope.
And let it be unto me, let it be in me, let it begin with me.

Merry Christmas.
Happy New Year.

I wish you irrepressible joy.
I wish you unflinching hope.
I wish you deep peace.
Joy, hope, and peace that surpass all your understanding,
and exceed your every expectation.

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