It’s been cold and snowy here for the last few days. Mornings begin with below zero temps. The days have not warmed up beyond 15 degrees. I’ve made quick ventures out of the house here and there, but I’ve mostly been house bound.
It’s fitting really. The cold weather. The time spent inside. It’s a season of waiting. For my own child to come and for the story of another. This advent season, I’ve been following the She Reads Truth devotional as a means to prepare my heart. Only, the thing is, it has only made my heart more conflicted. I only have more questions that are unfolding.
The first day devotional was entitled Advent Day 1: The First Promise of the Messiah. It gave readings from Genesis. The fall of man. Eve’s big mistake. They ask, “As familiar as this scene from the garden may be, I don’t know that I’ve ever recognized Christ there. Have you?” And then focus the devotional on this being the first promise of the Messiah…..
But I don’t see it. I really looked. I read and re-read the story. I searched the far corners of my heart and mind. In the end, all I could find was the story of the fall (a fall from the bliss of ignorance) by choosing knowledge of both good and evil. All I could find was a god who was angry about that choice. When I really reach, I can surmise that a god who is angry is at the very least a god who cares enough to not have given up completely. Who cares enough to correct (through promises of toil and hard labor). I see this. But I don’t see the promise of a savior. Not yet.
I also really struggle with the idea of a god who wouldn’t want us to know both good and evil. Who would want us to be kept naive, kept in the dark, kept in ignorance. I mean, isn’t choosing to love much more powerful and real and honest than not knowing if there is a choice?
I’ve been crafting while stuck inside over the last few days too. I made the above “painting” for our dining room. The tree is up, mantle is decked with fresh evergreen garland, candles are lit, advent calendar is up. I love this time of year–for its beauty, for the warmth it creates despite the chill in the air, for its Spirit.
I’ve been crafting questions too. Questions of the heart, questions from my soul to Spirit. It’s scary to post them here. Again, not exactly cocktail party conversation. I don’t blame you if you take your egg nog and run for the next blog posting recipes and holiday cheer!
But in case (I’m not alone, or there are answers out there), I have to ask these questions. I can’t not ask them and sit with the silence of this season. Can’t pretend I’m making honest preparations for my heart this time of year. So, I’m posting them here…
The more I prepare my heart for the promise of Jesus, the more I question his death. I don’t get it. I don’t get the crucifixion, at least not as it pertains to my sins or my being saved by it from my sins. This is another crux of my struggle with identifying myself as a Christian. You see, I understand from a worldly stand point why Jesus was crucified. I mean, here is this radical promoting love toward ALL–even the really hard to love; promoting the poor and downtrodden; consorting with prostitutes; denouncing the laws and traditions of the times. Any time someone does something like that, it never ends well. I understand why such a voice would be silenced by men in such a cruel, sickening way. I don’t understand how his dying saved me from my sins.
I still sin. I screw up all the time. I know Christianity doesn’t proclaim that Jesus’ death would stop me from sinning, but I don’t get how his death saves me from them. I get how his life does. How his living and breathing and being a force of love and light in this world is a way to guide me. If I followed him ardently, I am saved from a multitude of sins. I wouldn’t be greedy or selfish. I wouldn’t run away or ignore God when I fell short of His plans for me–further separating myself from that Love, that Light. In my heart of hearts, I believe that is what sin is–not some stupid act of haste, but any act or thought that separates you from God, or truth, or love, or Spirit, or the goodness within yourself.
By that definition, to not ask these questions is IMHO a sin. If I don’t continue to seek God, then I am separating myself from Him. I don’t want any barrier between myself and that love, between myself and truth.
Speaking of truth, when I’ve asked these questions before, the church answer was: “Either you accept the Bible as the Truth, the whole Truth, or you don’t.” Simple as that. But it’s not so simple. Because my heart cannot deny the existence of God when I stand in nature, when I feel this baby growing and moving within me, when I get really still in meditation and after yoga, when my heart opens towards what it might have been closed towards in the past. I believe. I have always believed in God. But I have problems with the Bible and its stories.
So I seek. I ask. And I wait. This is the season of asking and waiting. I ask that my child will grow strong and healthy these last few weeks before he is born. I ask that my heart and eyes be open to see the truth in the story of Christ. As a former English teacher, I don’t believe there’s one novel that doesn’t contain Truths despite its label of “fiction.” I don’t care as much about the facts as I should. Maybe. I ask for the way to be illuminated–the way to live with love like Jesus did, the way to navigate the Bible, the way to prepare my body for birth, the way to prepare my life for less separation-from others and from God, less “sin.”
I’m all ears if you have answers.
Waiting with Love in Colorado,