I’m in a snit from the moment little feet hit the stairs and find me at my desk. Irritation flares up the back of my neck and I’m longing for a cave to disappear into. For no obvious reason, I’m irritable, and the clashing of their small annoyances, with my unspeakable ones, becomes a recipe for a day burdened by unending discontent.
We try for breakfast but tears erupt and stomping ensues. I cannot manage a bathroom trip without what sounds to be, an all out cat fight between my girls just on the other side of the door.
I am in no mood to play referee. I’m growing restless in the waiting.
Downstairs in the cold of the basement, I swap towels from washer to dryer while chaos booms overhead. The floor above me shakes and thunders. In my rising anger, I swing hard the dryer door. I’m muttering to God, about how I don’t think I’ll get through this day.
Bulging with grief, I’m considering Mary and her divine calling. Isn’t parenthood a holy experience for those whom He calls? I think about how I felt those last heavy-laden days of pregnancy, when it’s impossible to bend and your hips and pelvis ache with impending labor. I recall how sensitive I was, how irritable I could be in a flash, without warning–how impossible it was to wait.
It feels a bit like that now, this final week of Advent. We’re waiting for Christ to be delivered–for Christ to deliver us, and it’s a mess here. My hot moments of irritation prove that there is no room in the inn of my heart for this King-coming.
Mary must have been uncomfortable, I tell myself, as a comfort. The weight of the infant-king in her belly probably somewhat dwarfed by the sheer gravity of the very mission of being the mother of God–I mean, really, it’s impossible to imagine.
In just days, she’d find her resting place on the floor in a cave carved out of a mountain, a stable in those days, and Christ would enter into the dark and be a light, the likes of which the world had never seen before,or since–glory wriggling free from the womb of a woman who never asked for this mission, and yet received it both in body and spirit.
On my hardest days I imagine my struggle to bring glory through motherhood doesn’t much compare to raising the Son of God. I wonder often how anyone born into this muck could bring any kind of light with them. But I remember, as I stand there at the sink, with my hands in the dirty water, that we can only shine because He is in us.
I’m a messy Mother at best. Some days I spill over ugly and ash all day until bed time, and then, I lay awake feeling the intense unworthiness of this calling. I don’t know how to wait gracefully. I long for light and yet my heart unwittingly shutters it’s doors and motions Him on–no room today.
But He’s a King on His knees, and He’s not afraid to lay low in the dirt. He picks me up out of mine and shakes it off, His hands brush gently over the surface of my dry heart and He breaths life where decay threatens to wither.
We’re all pregnant with hope this Christmas, desperately waiting for the Savior that can right this world that spins us dizzy with grief.
Immanuel-God with us!
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)