I’m taking a moment between cooking and cleaning and 2 year old neediness to reminisce.
Most of my Decembers, at least since having children, are so chaotic, breathless. This one is not an exception. It’s busy and full and I never get to the end of my to-do list. My house is sticky. The retail world owns my husband until 6 pm on December 24th. His car died on the highway - twice - this month. I found a sharpie cover - minus the marker - in front of the 2 year old’s closet (where I keep my 20 year old wedding dress). We lost my babysitter the tv remote. The washer AND the dryer have decided to retire together this December. Two heavy wind and rain storms in a week soaked through my bedroom ceiling to drip on my pillow. It’s a habit now, as we drive into church, to coach the children on what to do if mommy or daddy get arrested during worship service. Some extended family won’t communicate any more, even at Christmas. I found my first pure white hair. December has been rough.
Sometimes I wish I could climb out of time. It’s relentless. There never seems enough of it in my days. Some moments are full of heartache, pain, frustration. Some I do wrong, and I can’t turn back the clock to redo them. Time just keeps going. I could count the “if only's" and “shoulda coulda woulda's” and live with a regretful eye on the past. Or I could turn a worried eye to the future as I watch politics, culture, and healthy human interaction crumble.
But it’s December. Advent. It’s time to focus on the one moment when eternity collided with the clock.
The ageless Creator who holds the stars in place, who commands the north wind, who established the rules of thermodynamics and gravity and made water wet, and consequently allows it to flood my basement - this King of the eons stepped into time.
BC and AD were face to face (no matter what initials you use). Before and after met. Heaven held its breath as a teenage girl gasped and 7 pounds of eternal human gulped in His first lungful of cold, germ-filled, dusty air.
The kingdoms of earth writhed unwittingly as a newborn cried knowingly.
And everyone blinked and missed it, save a few, whom no one else gave the time of day. But they alone saw the moment eternity collided with time.
Infinite righteousness and peace kissed even as finite atoms split in the cataclysmic moment when all that is good came to all who are bad.
Tangible hands held intangible hope.
Scientific fact bowed to deepest reason.
Despite eternity, no, because of it, the embodiment of life took on a body of death.
How? I do not comprehend how.
But I know when. That moment changed every second of my own timeline.
And I know why.
That moment in time - was for you. For me.
The timeless King stepped into ticking history - so that you and I could step out of it. Beyond it. In that moment, eternity made a permanent, indelible mark on my heart. My tangible life, filled with sharpie marks and aging hair, and sticky floors that catch my socks and my temper, collided with the timeless dimension where the only mark that matters is the blood stain from a baby born to die.
I climbed the shelves at Walmart a couple days ago to reach the container of marshmallow fluff needed for our Christmas fudge. (I’m five feet tall in a supersize culture, don't judge). I tipped it, and the jar tumbled, smacking me on the bridge of my nose. It left a red drip of blood I couldn’t hide with any reasonable mask (if there is such a thing). Story of my life - taken out by a jar of cheap sugar. That’s how it will end I thought.
Except no. That’s not how life ends. Life is no longer simply a mark on a timeline. Life is no longer simply horizontal, but vertical. I've been given the gift of this moment. This present. This breathless hour is mine because of that little Baby who broke the indestructible barrier between time and timelessness. In a moment.
I can't wait to talk to those shepherds some day, the only ones on earth who grasped the immensity of the collision of eternity and the clock. Thanks for noticing, fellas. Thanks for worshipping in that breathless time and space. I want to be more like you this coming year. Notice the holy moments, even when they’re sticky and covered in permanent ink and your washing machine refuses to even try. Worship.
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God is here with us.