I am sitting in a cafe a block away from my fiance's church, where he is now prepping three (count 'em, THREE) Christmas Eve services. I will attend two - the first, where he is preaching, and the late one, after which we will drive out of the city and all the way to his childhood home. In the meantime, I'm going back to our new home to pack for the holidays with our families, wrap gifts for his family, and maybe unpack another box of my things.
For the first time in 2.5 months, I feel like I can breathe without panic seeping in. For the first time in over 3 months, I feel a strong urge to write a little blog post. And for the first time in almost 4 months, I really truly believe that I'm getting married on Sunday.
It has been a bizarre and often difficult fall. Our collective goal has been to just make it til Christmas. And now it is Christmas. And we made it. And the last of the Big Things fell into place this morning, literally under the wire.
So here we are.
|This is us in October, photo taken by the very talented Aisling.|
And in between the last seating shuffle for the reception, the fear that I've forgotten to buy a stocking stuffer for at least one new-family member, and the deep desire for it to be Monday morning, when I wake up and all the fuss is done - somewhere in between there, I've managed a thought or two about Jesus.
To be honest, I've spent a lot of time angry at Jesus this fall. I've had to be a lot more vulnerable than I'm comfortable with, and trust others with a whole lot of important details that were completely out of my control. God has been doing things in all kinds of ways that I distinctly told him I did not want him to.
But God is like any other being - a being with a will that is not my own, and no matter how strongly I wish I could, I cannot control God's choices. For me, it is difficult to stay engaged and present in a relationship where the other person is acting in ways I don't understand or like. It's been a struggle not to simply check out and say, "We can talk when you come around to see things the way I do."
A few weeks ago, someone asked a group of us if we thought Mary knew what she was getting herself into, what was going to happen with this itty bitty baby boy.
I don't think she did. I think she had an inkling, a sense that something was afoot, and a memory of one very strange conversation with an angel - but she was human, and like the rest of us, she just had to watch her life unfold and wonder at it all.
When I think of Christmas this year, and the belief I have that God became a tiny baby, I am blown away. I'm blown away by the unpredictability of it, by the mystery of it, and mostly, by the unresolved-ness of it.
The Christian faith is not a brown paper package tied up with string. While it is one of my favourite things, the Christian faith is a messy beast of journey, one in which I join with Mary, staring at a baby and wondering what it all means. What will happen next? How will this change my life? Where do we go from here?
I don't have answers, but I am convinced of this: the birth of this tiny little baby changed everything for Mary. And he's changed everything for me. And we're in this together - even when I don't know what he's doing, exactly, or how it's going to turn out. I'm convinced he does, and that he loves me. Which is enough to fill me with wonder, even in the midst of chaos.