I’m not one to decorate for Christmas in October, but this year I casually suggested we buy our tree early. My heart has been aching for Christmas. I don’t mean the cookies, lights, or parties (although I certainly love those things). I mean I’m longing for Jesus. I need the soul reminder that a Savior came to save us. I’m yearning for hope in my desolate days. When parents are aging, fires are raging, and shootings are just another thing happening, I need to know there is hope. When pastors are cheating, cancer is spreading, and children are dying, I need hope like I need water. When Christian leaders are changing sides, politics are ripping us to shreds, and siblings are silent, I need Christmas to come early this year. When life is in turmoil, I so desperately want to cling to someone or something who will stand beside me and hold me up.
The air online and at our dinner tables can be toxic. When a family member or friend “likes” a post I adamantly disagree with, I can get wildly angry. I find myself reading posts or blogs in search for the person who is saying what I’m feeling inside. I want someone to make sense of all the madness I’m seeing in the world. I find my eyes searching for someone to follow. A leader, a person, a woman who understands me and speaks for my beliefs. I look to Ann Voskamp, Christine Caine, or Emily Freeman. I read posts by Jen Hatmaker or Shauna Niequist. The list goes on and on. I’m always scouring the web looking for the Christian woman who gets me. A woman where I can say, “I’m with her!”
With the political climate a war zone and issues like abortion, homosexuality, and gender soaring, I just want to know I’m not alone. Are you on the left or right? What does culture say? What does cable news report or the President tweet? What does Christ teach? I get dizzy trying to discern grace and truth. I find myself up at night fighting inside after reading a post that sends me into rage. I want to send anonymous emails or I get lost in the deep end of hate exchanges in the comment sections. I see and feel the great divide between Christian women on difficult topics, and all in the name of Jesus, sin is happening. I’m guilty of this.
During Advent, with the hope of Jesus’ birth at our doorstep, I want to see a way through. When family members voted for opposing candidates and we can’t get through a meal without debating, there must be another way. A way that doesn’t require losing myself or fighting for my voice to be heard. A way where I don’t throw down my phone in frustration or walk away from people I love because we see Jesus from a different angle.
Perhaps the way through the holidays and the challenges in our culture and Christianity isn’t to take sides but to kneel down. Perhaps it isn’t about following the right Christian women leaders or having the best arguments but falling face down. It’s the way of the woman at the feet of Jesus. The sinful woman who walked into a room packed with Pharisees, tax collectors, sinners, lawyers and Jesus. She didn’t look at anyone else but Jesus. She knelt down. She wept and with her tears she wiped her Savior’s feet with her finest perfume. Tears, if given words, might have been saying, “Son of God, have mercy on me.”
It takes courage to walk into a room of men. A room filled with judgements and accusations and shame shooting eyes straight at you. And yet she walked and fell at the feet of Christ. It takes courage for us to walk into a world where persecution for our faith is eminent. It takes strength to sit with family members who disagree and to love unconditionally. It takes an incredible amount of focus to get all the way to Jesus. We are so tempted to stop and look to the right or left, to get angry or engage in arguments, to spew our own judgments and throw up our defensive shields.
Dear sisters, let’s lean on Christian leaders, but be careful not to let these leaders replace God. Follow anyone who will lead you back to the feet of the Beloved.
Take heart, Jesus is our defender, hope, and sustainer. He is the lover and pursuer of all hearts — yes, the sinners, tax collectors, Pharisees, liberals, conservatives, haters, and the holy. Yes, each one of us. When we are tempted to follow anyone but Jesus, we will surely find ourselves lost. Let us keep our gaze on Jesus. Let us fall effortlessly at His feet. The humble home of love is found when we encounter Christ in the reality of our need for Him.
God, how we need you. More than ever before, our hearts are aching for your comfort.
Christmas is coming, sisters. Oh, how we ache for our Savior to bring hope into our hopeless world, and we will follow Christ and Christ alone.
Perhaps the way through the holidays and the challenges in our culture and Christianity isn’t to take sides but to kneel down. - Anjuli Paschall: Click To Tweet