“It gets easier when they get older,” she leans in and smiles, the fine lines framing her eyes.
Day by day, we’re steam-rolling past the toddler years. Little people are outgrowing shoe sizes and Thomas the Tank Engine underwear faster than my favourite tea runs out.
With the passing of years, I am conscious – not of growing ease, but of different needs.
“Mama, can you play chess with me?”
“Can you give me a piggy-back ride?”
“Which job would suit me best?”
“Mama, what would YOU like to be when you grow up?”
“Mama, when can we have a date?”
The questions – and the needs – they keep coming.
December has come and gone. And with the towering blaze of Christmas displays and decorations still fresh in my mind – our Christmas lights are still up, so pretty they are – I think of the time when an ancient nation living under the weight of foreign occupation sat on the edge of its seat with the burning question, “When will a Saviour come?” When will the Answer of all answers come?
Perhaps we’re looking to a new year with hopes of positive change, growth and well-being. The schedule’s filled in. The work’s laid out. Arrangements for childcare are underway.
And yet, some old-time snags and cracks remain – the loose ends, things that don’t work out the way we plan, doubts when we can’t see beyond the bend, days crayoned in red, “It doesn’t get easier.”
Away from the bustle of the day, do the missing pieces in the puzzle ever trouble you?
Go back to Christmas.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). ~ Matthew 1:22-23
Jesus comes through a human impossibility.
He comes not with the answers the people expect.
He comes not with a guarantee of a trouble-free life in the present, a place where all problems cease. Not yet. Instead He comes with the gift of His Very Person.
God with us.
Jesus comes with the gift of His very presence because a quick fix of snags and cracks is nothing like having Someone Carry You Through It All.
We can take down those Christmas lights and shiny balls but really, Christmas is still here with us.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:20
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS. Even through the unanswered questions. The laundry that never lets up. The changing needs that keep hammering away at us.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33
If we want to remain centred in the midst of a world that is never short of surprises – new year not excepting – we need to look to the Person of all persons.
Wonderful Counsellor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace.
“So that IN ME you may have peace.”
We can look to a new year filled with hope. Not because we’re guaranteed a year of ease or have all the answers, but because No Matter What Hits Us This Year we know where to find counsel, strength, unconditional love and acceptance, and a peace that transcends human understanding.
We look not merely to answers, blueprints or plans.
We look to a Person.
We echo the words of hymn-writer Edward Mote (1797-1874):
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
Christ alone, Cornerstone,*
Weak made strong in the Saviour’s Love;
Through the storm, He is Lord,
Lord of all.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
In Him, my righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
*Modern refrain by Hillsong United.