As I sat reading this morning while drinking diluted, doctored coffee, my eyes and mind went over and again to this Advent countdown with cutout cardstock in the center of the kitchen table.
My youngest and I have worked our way, day by day, cutting and sorting and displaying the individual steps.
I realize as I stare that all that is left on this Eve is the crown. It is the final piece and with it we are to crown Him King.
Each of the steps has walked us through the reality of that mind-boggling event.
The baby is in the manger.
The shepherds have been stunned.
Joseph and Mary have both borne shunning but now become something more. They are now bearing Grace, Relief, Comfort not yet fully known.
Wise men have perceived and studied and journeyed.
Jealous rulers have raged.
The angels have declared, proclaimed and worshiped.
The Innkeeper gave the only small space remaining.
We are down to this final piece, here on the table.
That crown and the question of what we do next.
As I rejoice in a home that is literally warm on a cold winter morning and was filled with laughter into late night hours, I am thankful.
I am thankful for a 23-year-old who would choose to be home with siblings and enjoy silly times with third graders and teenage girl sisters and a best friend brother.
There is a part of me that still feels broken.
The breaking part comes when I think of unrest, unwelcome, cold, desolate ones who aren’t experiencing these same grace-filled moments. Strangers on borders looking for a home, mobs in stores emptying shelves, those fighting and tearing one another down, death and disease—there is desperation all around.
I think of brokenness and it lurks within my own heart. It is all because we have enthroned self, not Savior. The crown is still looking for its rightful place.
My own heart has chosen self.
I think of this Christmas Eve, the Eve of all eves.
I recall original Eve and there it is again, original sin. It is the choice handed down, born in time and throughout the ages. Choosing self even in the midst of beauty and wonder.
We chose that one other thing we didn’t have, hadn’t tasted.
The tree in my living room is stacked high with gifts, for us. Like a tree in a garden bearing fruit that was not intended that way.
I stop and thank God on this Eve that He has more than restored what was wrought in that Eve.
This King arrived in humility and arrived to give all that He had. His very life yielded up willingly that I can sit safe, rescued and reassured that this is not for naught.
He has overturned the selfish choice by demonstrating that selfless love.
He entered the mess and made the way.
So that cutout crown lies in the middle of my table and the last step is my choice.
What to do now with this God King, humbly cut out, cut up, raised up on a tree.
I look to Mary and Joseph in that quiet moment on a silent night and find rest in the grace of the One who came to save.
This Eve I rejoice for the King who came to save and gladly give up the crown.