I’ve been hearing this song – Matt Redman’s Your Grace Finds Me – a lot lately, in the radio and in my head. It’s a song I need to hear every day, and even more so in the chaos of the holiday season.
Eleven months of the year, I do (I think) a passable job of balancing the much treasured demands of being a wife, mother, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend, church member, Sunday school teacher, Bible quiz coach, homeschool teacher, author, writers’ group member, etc. Our house may not make the cover of a magazine, and our kids might be wearing mismatched clothes, but we’re alive and well and growing and swimming and playing and running marathons and writing books and loosing teeth and learning to read and all sorts of fabulous things.
Then December hits. Maybe mid-November. Somewhere in there, I realize we don’t have matching sweaters to wear for the photo we’ll put on the Christmas card I won’t actually get made. Our tree is looking droopy sad and there are boxes everywhere and I’m so deplorably bad at gift-giving that I sort of gave up years ago. The kids and puppy are all wound up, feeding off each other like they’re all made of caffeinated sugar colored with Red Dye #40.
We’re all supposed to be merry. To pause to marvel in the beauty and joy of this season of giving, this time when we remember the greatest gift of all, the baby Jesus in the manger.
The problem is I’m more an every day girl – the sort to see beauty and grace in the little mundane things. A preteen’s hug, a shared book, a math concept conquered, a sweaty husband who just hit a thousand miles for the year, a sentence that reads like a poem, a quiet Spirit nudge that lets me know I did the right thing at the right time, or that I did the wrong thing, but God loves me no less…
The added expectations of this time of year drag me down. I want to gaze upon the babe in a manger, but the truth is, I need Jesus in all his human-God strength to lift me out of the craziness of the holiday season. I need His grace to find me, not in Christmas cards and candy and presents and candlelight services, but in the every day, in the waiting for Christmas to come and in the letting go of all we didn’t get done.
I need space, too. Margin, some call it. Space to breathe, space to sit, space to wonder. Space to realize just how much grace slept in the manger and lives among us even now. Space is hard to come by these days, but it will come.
Maybe in the quiet of night, as I lean to kiss a sleeping child or in the dawn of day, when one wakes me with the proclamation that Christmas has come. Somewhere in the living of these days, grace will find me. It always does.