Everyday Grace and the Fingerprints of God

Daughters Katy and Maggie and son-in-law Austin have gone back to the coasts – D.C. and San Francisco.

It finally snowed here in Minnesota (righting a cosmic wrong).

Christmas is over and I’m feeling the let-down. I’m sitting by the fire in our kitchen at dusk with a cup of hot chocolate as I write this.  Maggie insists I call it hot chocolate instead of cocoa.  No idea why.

The Christmas decorations are packed away til next year.  Ornaments made with chubby hands and glue of love.  Unusual baubles brought from far flung places.  Decorations marking special times.

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As I pack up Christmas I feel so conflicted…

I love and hate this time of year.

I hate it that it’s the end of my favorite season.  The end of twinkle lights and anticipation, shining stars and awe-struck shepherds.  Putting things away is such a mark of endings, while Jesus is the celebration of new beginnings that I love.

Jesus.  Every-day grace and fresh starts.  Every day.  Not just at Christmas and not just at New Years.

As I’m taking down decorations and wrapping up the creche I get to thinking there’s really no way to pack Jesus away.

I think of this Frederick Buechner quote:

“Those who believe in God can never in a way be sure of him again. Once they have seen him in a stable, they can never be sure where he will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation he will descend in his wild pursuit of us.

If holiness and the awful power and majesty of God were present in the least auspicious of all events, this birth of a peasant’s child, then there is no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there, too.

And this means that we are never safe, that there is no place where we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from his power to break in two and recreate the human heart because it is just where he seems most helpless that he is most strong, and just where we least expect him that he comes most fully.”

Isn’t that great?  “no place or time so lowly and earthbound but that holiness can be present there, too…”

The decorations that heralded Jesus’ birth may be packed away, but He is not.  He’s here!  Among us and in us and around us…holiness invading and redeeming the ordinary and the ugly and the broken.

The holy is hiding in the humble.

Jesus is not just found in the dramatic, but also waiting to be discovered amid dirty dishes, diapers and dead-ends.

Today, is an “after Christmas” day, a back-to-routine and back-to-work day, but we continue to look for the fingerprints of God amidst the smudges of sticky toddler hands, in the wrinkles of an elderly hand we grasp, around the table as we hold hands to pray.

The breath of heaven is still here, to be felt gentle on our face if we pay attention.

Where are you seeing everyday grace and the fingerprints of God today?

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2 Comments

  1. Laura, I know just what you mean about the conflict you feel at this time of year. I love Christmas and always want there to be more days between Thanksgiving and Dec. 25! But that fresh start pulls me too … the putting away and nesting and catching up on things. I also love the Frederick Buechner quote you shared … it’s definitely worth saving and savoring over and over!

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