Page 16 - Seasons Magazine Advent 2020
P. 16

 Twelve years ago, I was preparing for the birth of my firstborn son. We moved out of state when I was four months pregnant, with new people and language and terrain and housing and jobs and roles, and well, you name it. While shopping for a dresser with my mom during those last weeks, there was a lot of talk about “things” and how many and what we “needed” for our arriving baby. What struck me was that as long as our son had food, clothes and a place to sleep, I deeply believed that what he needed the most was our love and attention and a sense of being safe.
I honestly don’t know where that came from. My family line is an anxious one, with high blood pressure and GERD and panic attacks. Most of my siblings are type A, and there’s a lot of functional (and sometimes not) anxiety. There were many things that I did worry about, and still do. But for some reason, this gift of peace in that simplicity was given to me during that season.
That year was a lot like this one. Our move to Ohio was a tough one, as I left a community I loved and a job where I felt valued. I was lonely and felt fragile,
as I was not working during that single year we when lived there and birthed our firstborn.
Becoming a mother in the midst of loneliness and lack of community was one of the hardest things I have done in my life. There was uncertainty, a lot of time alone, and deep discontent and feeling bereft. I have felt many of these things in the last several months as I learn to live during a pandemic.
Somehow, inside of me that year, though, I knew that having a baby wasn’t about having all the things. It wasn’t about the cute outfits, or the latest crib, or the neatest gadgets. I knew that Malachi wouldn’t care less if he had the latest and greatest toys, but would most feel safe with us if he received our attention and care.
John Mark Comer says in his recent book The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry “Worship and joy start with the capacity to turn our minds’ attention toward the God who is always with us in the now." He describes later that attention is one of our most precious resources, and that we become what we give our attention to.
The weeks leading up to Christmas have been a time when it is easy for me to lose sight of Jesus, even while trying to do things that focus on him. Parties on top of parties, singing and food, shopping for gifts and family gatherings, doing for others. These activities bring joy and stress, and this year, there will be less of them.
maehrocG refainneJ yBP

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