Amazed and Confounded

Yesterday we wrapped up our advent series at church. Yes, advent as a season is over, but advent as a practice – making room for Christ and dwelling on His birth, sacrifice, resurrection, and gift of grace – is something I’m still very much into thinking about as we head into a new year, especially since I’m working on being still.

One of the reasons I love our church is that I always walk away with something to reflect on. A lot of times it’s something God is already talking to me about, and it’s just one more way He makes His voice heard. That’s always crazy to me. How did my pastor know what I was reading this week? How I was praying? Or what I needed to hear most? God amazes me when He speaks straight to my heart through people on stage.

Other times, my church challenges me. It’s not that I ever disagree with anything our pastors say, but sometimes they give me something to think about that I wouldn’t normally think about on my own at this moment in time. Yesterday was more like one of those days.

“Jesus amazed, confounded, and confused people,” our pastor said. I jotted it down in my notebook, because I absorb best when I’m writing. Something about pulling the words down from the air onto the written page helps me wrestle with what I’m hearing in ways my brain can’t do just by listening alone. But that’s where the questions usually start for me.

I know Jesus has amazed, confounded, and confused me. More times than I can count. But is He amazing, confounding, and confusing me right now? Have I drawn close enough this season to see the real Him and not just the Christmas story I know and re-read every year? Have I slowed down enough to let Him blow my mind?

A couple nights ago I was thinking about the Christmases in my past. A friend had shared with me how disappointed she was to be sick at Christmas, and I knew exactly how she felt. I remembered all the Christmases I went through when illness was such a big part of my life. Several of them had still felt like Christmas, even though one of the gifts I wanted so badly – to be healed – couldn’t be wrapped and placed under the tree. But Christmas 2010 was particularly lonely.

That year I spent two weeks home alone at my apartment in Brooklyn, snowed in by a freak blizzard, and suffering repeated gallbladder attacks. It was less than a year after I’d gone into remission for the first time and six months after I’d been healed of Lyme Disease for the second time (I did say I’m prone to these things, right?), so all that to say it was definitely not how I envisioned spending Christmas after being healed, and it’s not the Christmas I think of when I look back on my best memories.

But, when I scrolled back through this blog at what I’ve written each December, I’m most overwhelmed with what Jesus was doing in me that year. He was amazing, confounding, and confusing me with His Word. He was blowing my mind.

When I read these two posts from that year, I learn something new all over again.

Mary and Elizabeth at Christmas

Things I discovered about a blessed life

(Here’s the Christmas story I was reading when I wrote the two posts above.)

I love that my pastor reminded me of a little piece of who our Savior is. He is God. He is good. And if I’m paying attention, I’ll probably spend a good deal of time amazed, confounded, or confused. But that’s the great thing about God. I don’t always have to understand. I don’t have to be able to see what’s coming. I just have to remember He does.

What about you guys? Is there anything amazing, confounding, or confusing you right now? Anything you’re looking forward to in 2013?

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