“We worship what we ultimately find most beautiful.” (Dr. Paul Metzger)
This Advent season I have found myself more distracted than ever. It could be a combination of starting a new job, then starting my Masters, and planning a trip to Europe for In-vitro. All of it seemed to come crashing onto my shores this fall and I found myself looking for high ground. Especially in media and TV once again: My “go-to” escape.
Can we become addicted to our distractions?
There is a rush to the mystery of what may happen next. Who has posted? Who has liked my photo? What interesting new thing is happening?
Just now, I find myself distracted by the trees outside my window. Tall and green and lush with life. They rustle in the cold northwest wind, their branches like the currents in a stormy sea.
Would I rather be distracted by branches or branding?
We worship what we ultimately find most beautiful.
What do I find most beautiful? I know the Sunday school answer but perhaps I find my distractions most beautiful. I do spend a lot of time staring at them!
We can stare at screens until our eyes hurt. But most of all, it hurts our sight of what is most beautiful than it hurts our pupils and corneas.
It hurts our ability to see Him.
It may be, that what we are constantly turning our eyes to is what we find most beautiful.
Advent is a season of waiting and anticipating the arrival of the one who will give us sight.
I admit, I am not good at waiting and I dare say, many of us are not.
Lines of people fill the stores this year. Hundreds of eyes will be glued to screens just trying to past the time as they wait. We won’t lock eyes with a stranger for 30 seconds but we will lock eyes with screens for 30 minutes.
We are a generation that has forgotten how to wait well. To find hope, peace, joy, and love in the waiting. Instead, we find our distractions and discover short-cuts. We wait for our social media accounts to change but leave our souls unchanged.
Advent is a season of waiting and yet we fail to wait.
How can we get back to it? And why even wait when we can make it happen now with a click of a button?
But can we really…our desperate attempts to fill the uneasy space slip from our grasp greased with man-made promises that never really settle our anxious pacing. Can we really make peace, hope, joy, love happen?
So how do we get back to anticipating with joy instead of sorrow?
How can we wait with patience instead of anxiety?
The empty manger is soon to be filled with the one Who will fill our empty souls.
He is coming… can you feel it?
In the hushed stillness of a dark cold night… shepherds gather ’round fires to keep warm, weary travelers long for shelter, a bare smelly stable with a carpet of straw enfolds a fragile child. He takes his first holy breath of the air He once held in the palm of His hand.
He is coming…wait for it. The Light of the world has come into the world through the canal of flesh and blood to make all things new.
He is coming…wait for it. The Creator of the stars has come into His creation to looked up at the stars with tiny, precious eyes. Those eyes whose sight is just now gaining will aid us in our sight.
He is coming…wait for it. The manger soon to be filled with power wrapped in fragile flesh to heal our wounded flesh.
How can we keep turning our eyes to Him and not to our screens?
How do we look up and out and not down and in?
The answer isn’t easy but nothing ever worth doing comes easy. We practice.
We practice looking at branches and not branding.
We practice looking at smiles and not screens.
We practice looking into eyes and instead of grasping for likes.
We ask for strength and use the strength given by the one Who knows how to give good gifts; better gifts than you will find under a tree on Christmas morning.
The blurriness of our vision will soon become clear and our eyes will recognize once again what is most beautiful and worthy of our worship. It’s not easy, this journey to the manger, this practice of sight for holy things.
We stumble through the practice. We falter in our sight for what is beautiful. We clumsily fall into the manager and find gentle, warm hands ready to guide us, to heal us, to help us in our time of need.
We take a deep breath and pause…our sight regaining. We see how beautiful He truly is and we worship because we cannot help ourselves.
The rain has come now and the trees outside the window dance in a flurry of wind as the cold rain rush onto their branches and I find myself distracted once again…
He is coming, wait for it.
As a reminder to aid us in our looking up and out instead of down and in, download the lock screen photos below as a reminder to keep our eyes on what matters most this season.
Simply click on the lock screen you’d like to put on your phone, click and hold to save OR take a screenshot of it (you may need to crop it according to your phone), then head to your settings to change your wallpaper. Now you have a handy reminder when your distractions need a good beat-down this season!