In Texas my body doesn't know it's winter, but my soul does. I wake this morning and it's still dark, but I'm not interested in burrowing deeper into the down. I lay still and listen to my home wake up. I'm in no hurry these days. Everything moves slowly about my life.
I'm okay with the quiet of the soul, the winter where death doesn't hurt quite so badly as it has in years past.
I am saying to someone yesterday, with tears in my eyes, "If only you knew me a year ago..." and I am not bragging. I used to think that all pruning was painful and all death was an enemy, that the falling of leaves meant I would be left standing there naked and revealed. I am finding though, that God makes sacrifices to make sure we're still clothed. The shame that comes is not from the revealing of our deepest parts, but instead the fact that we know we cannot do it all alone.
The concept of being a lover of the light and exposing all things hidden is not a strange one to me, I've mouthed this for years. But the reality of uncovering the hiding things, revealing the secret sins and not drawing back when the light hits the dark stuff of my heart--these are hard things for me. We are not adept at revealing, we hide first and we make excuses second.
Because it is, at first glance, less painful.
Because it is dangerous to stare at winter across the seasons and say we're up for the challenge.
Because our example of exposure is a man, stripped bare on a cross, crowned with thorns and crying out to the only one Who could save him and wouldn't.
God turned his face away.
And we think that He will do the same to us. Or, at the very least, others will do the same.
God's response to Adam was to cover him; discipline him, yes, but cover him.
God's direction for Christ was to follow through til the end, turn his face away and turn the sky black.
And tear the veil in two. Expose the weaknesses of the old covenant, say out loud in so many ways, "I am doing away with this! No more do you have to shed blood or stand naked! No more do you have to fear wrath or play chess with My goodness. I'm covering you once and for all."
I don't know why, during this advent season, my thoughts are always on the resurrection or the last supper. I wish that that they were more Christmas worthy. But I'm grateful for the winter and you should know this. I'm grateful for the stripping bare, the naked trees and dead leaves. I'm grateful for the fading life and ensuing life. I'm grateful for the cross and the willingness of a man who exposed it all for me.
But I'm most grateful that I am covered.