The wind sways the tops of the trees to clapping as we walk through the woods. Like a round of applause, all the birches and poplar, ash and oaks seem to know the maker and take their turn in summoning a standing ovation.
“It is good” God said long ago, the trees respond, “YOU are good!”
I walk alone the day after Thanksgiving on our newly purchased forest plot, searching for nature to add greenery to the Advent wreath that stands neatly in the center of our table. The trail is only leaves now, though just yesterday snow crunched under foot. I stop at just the right time to see a young buck peek over the mound of rocks in front of me. We stare at each other for a few seconds, His curiosity of me and mine of him freezes us both. He’s unafraid of me. I shift slightly and burst his inquisitive bubble, he puffs a snort and disappears, white flag of surrender following behind him.
This place. This deep sea of sky-stretching tree trunks is really a sweet and unexpected gift from God. A place to breath and let our minds wander - and who couldn’t use a little more breathing room these days?
Advent is upon us, and my heart is turned toward the birth of Jesus. These next four weeks we’ll slowly light each candle. Hope and peace, love and joy. We’ll recall His coming to the manger by candlelight each evening, mixing in murmurs of what’s to come for us in the days ahead.
Because everything done in these days before the new year, steps us back into history and forward to eternity all in one season.
We remember. We wait.
We remember. We wait.
Year after year we hold tightly to the hem of His garment for healing, for hope, for heaven.
As a little girl of 4 or 5 I couldn’t shake the fear of leaving my home to board a bus to be driven away from everything that held my heart. Anxiety would inch its way toward me each morning as I'd fold my beloved blanket at the end of my bed to await my return.
If only I could take it with me, school wouldn't feel so far from home. And in a moment of beautiful wisdom and grace, my very own prized mother pulled the scissors from her sewing box and snipped the corner of my blanket into a perfect square and slid it into my jeans pocket. A hem all for me to be grasped whenever I felt afraid or alone.
I can still feel that thin square of cloth between my fingertips and the comfort it gave to my lonely, little heart.
Because there’s power in the hem. (Luke 8:43-48)
From the strips of cloth that first swaddled the Holy baby, to the tunic Jesus wore on the dusty roads surrounded by truth seekers as he walked out the Father’s will. We cling onto the hem and remember.
All the hems of Jesus heal. All bring hope and love, joy and peace like the candles of the season. There’s power in the hem of the one who holds our longing hearts.
Our forever grip on the garment of Jesus’ life from babe to Risen King clothed in white, is our one and only lifeline. We are to pocket it like the corner of a beloved blanket, too precious to leave behind.
There’s power in the hem of Jesus and when we grab hold of it and know He has come to redeem all that’s broken, it’s then that we’re whole again.
Where is his hem?
It’s in the Holy Word. It’s in prayers whispered over a sink full of dishes, it’s in knees that bend in the middle of a wooded land, and in closets, or right smack-dab in the center of the kitchen floor. It's in car rides alone when all the words come pouring out, and in bedside tears when loss is looking you straight in the face. That’s where you’ll find the hem of Jesus, that’s when your hand should reach out and grasp it.
I urge you, be a notorious knee-bending Christian! Adhere your heart to His hem as you celebrate His arrival, His Advent.
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11