If there is one place in this whole world that makes me gasp in wonder is the arctic. There is just something magical about a place that is uninhabited and blanketed in white year round; an infinity of stars panning out in the frozen expanse, the cold vapor of ones breath as the only sign of life, caught in a calm circadian rhythm of stalled time and cold suspended air.
Of course when your lost in the tundra this beauty takes a back seat. All you wish for is a steaming hot cup of anything, warm blankets and fire. Lots of fire.
That’s what I want. Fire. Right now when its seems that everything and everyone is gearing up for the holidays, and the Christmas movies make your real life feel like broken glass, the cold can wither you down even more.
Now that school is over for the first half of the semester (words cannot describe how fast that went) I have almost five weeks of repose and I find myself shaken.
What to do in the silence? What to do when the cold air feels to pierce right through your bones? And everything around you is beginning to grow real quiet. Like someone has thrown a party that you weren’t invited to.
If there is something I have learned is that to carry Christ in our hearts does not make everything easy. It doesn’t take away the pain that comes when you have lost a friend, a family member, or dear ones are far away and all the heartache accumulates towards this holiday that’s found in the middle of December. A month that by default consists of frozen drive ways, icicles and sunless afternoons.
I’ve learned from Mary and the Nativity story that to carry Christ is not only a blessing but it calls for an expansion of self, an expansion that does not come easy. We have to loose things we thought we needed and let him touch the corners of our tender wounded hearts. It comes with sacrifice and pain. Maybe it is like Ann Vosskamp says, “This season of Advent may hurt. I may feel weary. These days may not be easy. This is how God may be growing within me.”
And maybe just maybe this is why Christmas is smacked down in the middle of December, maybe we needed a little hope to emerge in the midst of a cold, dead frozen season. Maybe we just needed a remainder of what is good and where true hope and life comes from.
Perhaps we need to be like the mountain avens, (one among a few flowers that has the capacity to grow and thrive in frozen temperatures). Maybe we need to let this coldness saturate us… not defeat us… a balance between learning, moving forward, and allowing it to have its effect yet be free of bitterness. We need to be smugly burrowed beneath the frozen ground, yet have a hope and warmth that will catapult us above the frozen ground. Growing, flourishing from the very solid earth that threatened to destroy us. As Christ expands us and resurrects healing and newness.
Christ is found amidst our tundra. He is ephemeral warmth and fire that is nestled around our hearts, there he whispers and reminds us of his immovable promises and his plans for the future. So lets let go of fear friends, and may we in this advent season pray for healing in which ever form it may be needed, and lets be mountain avens together.
Lets believe that God will build something beautiful from our frozen tundra… and know dear friends that I am growing and fighting alongside you.
May this advent be warm, and filled with the joyful love of Christ and all our beloved friends and families.