Red Vine Spirituality

Taylor K. Arthur balances Bipolar 1 Disorder, marriage, and motherhood with a nitty-gritty faith inspiring a twisted, blissful life.

Come Now, Our King

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O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times did’st give the Law,
In cloud, and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

It started as an idea that morphed into a longing. We talked about building a manger for a few years, but with babies being carried and birthed and nursed and hospitalized, we let the manger slip. Last year, carrying a simple sketch out to the garage where he works his magic on tools I still don’t know how to operate, Jack built me a manger. And it is simple, so simple. It’s not painted, and you can see all of the screws. It’s little, little enough for a lamb to dine from, little enough for the children to play with.

But this manger is my heart. It is simple and naked in its no-trim form. It is open and unfinished, wide with cracks between the wood that would never allow it to hold anything but simple sustenance for simple creatures. It feeds and it harbors. And right now, it sits in the corner of the living room where our Christmas tree will stand. The manger is brought down from the attic before any of the other Christmas decorations, and will outlast the tree. It will outlast the presents that will sit behind it (I will include a picture next week). Trees and presents will be ushered in and dragged out for years to come, but the manger is here to stay.

Every year, I am amazed at how deep a longing is stirred within my heart during Advent. Is it because life gets harder every year, or that I hold more, or that every year more and more of my heart is being carved out for this new birthing, this new Jesus being born inside me again and again? I ache with a hunger to fall at my feet and worship this child who had saved me so completely from myself. I ache to hold Him, to begin again, to drink from this gorgeous font of beginning.

I found myself kneeling in that corner of our living room this morning, realizing that this manger is an altar for me to pray at. Manger is holy relic, and Child is King. I knelt on the floor and spoke to the Child who becomes the Man who died on a tree for me. I asked Him for Him, in His beautiful simplicity and his awesome majesty. I asked to be carved out, so there is more room for Him and less for me.

I know this hunger grows the more you feed it. There is an ache in all of us, and we try so hard to fill it with beautiful tangibility. Whether you have one present under a Charlie Brown tree this Christmas, or if your coffers overflow with riches, I pray the ache for you. I pray a hunger that cannot be filled. And I pray you will find your own manger, and kneel before it.

He is Christmas in every love and warmth and glitz we absorb. He fills the hungry, He satisfies.

God bless you all.

Taylor

1 Comment

  1. danettepeil@yahoo.com

    8 December, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Keep it up Taylor! God is using you tot ouch many of hearts! Love you, Aunt Dana

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