"Look at the people to your right and your left. Think about the people in your life for whom you are most thankful," Michael encouraged earlier today.
The glaring reality for me in that moment was that there was an empty chair to my left and an empty chair to my right. As my children colored and played in the nursery down the hall and my husband chauffeured last-minute travelers around town, I sat in service alone.
"He has no boundaries... he works too much... I'm trying to understand, but frankly, I'm pissed..." my anger erupted inside, spilled down my face and landed beneath me in a pool of disappointment.
Arise, O God, plead Your own cause...
Paula, Niki, Kristi, Wendy... Paul, Maya, Cole... Mom, Dad, Tolu, Folayo... quickly I scribbled the first names that came to mind as more names flooded my heart and overflowed onto the little piece of paper in my lap... Karen, Dick, Liz, David, Jason, Ava... Lauren, Leah, Juli, Sara, Lib, Vic... on and on and on.
We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near...
Indeed. In that moment and this one, I am bummed. Yet, somewhere even deeper, I feel full. It's not the season or the presents. It's not the cozy fire, the crisp air or the warm home. It's really isn't even the the family or the friends. It is You.
So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"