Truth stands bold and small, a candle lit at the feet.
It bids the one its offered to follow its humble but trusty light that knows the path. Because Truth is the Way is the Life that gave first breath in a cattle stall. The Life that walked the path that knows struggle and victory, hardship and peace, bitter disappointment and unfailing hope.
His life is the gift that lights the candle at our feet, lays hope before our broken steps.
As sure as the candle stands, the questions come back to my head. I look down at my candle and I am distressed that I can’t see the road far ahead of me.
I look down at my candle and I feel fear to follow it’s light in a direction that I don’t know how to explain to the world around me.
I follow it’s light down paths that feel sublime and paths that feel wounding and paths that I cannot understand.
When it hurts, I struggle to process the pain. I wonder how I should feel, and what to do when I don’t have an answer for what to do with all the feelings. It’s hard to embrace the gift of this next step. And when it’s wonderful, I struggle to receive the gift without feeling guilty for receiving something so good.
I try to filter my candle’s light, and I struggle to embrace it’s gift.
It was just before Thanksgiving when the Wilson’s showed up at the farm to meet a need we had. When my first reaction was guilt to receive their gift, it showed on my face and I struggled with what to say. And Mr. Wilson, told me straight, he wasn’t doing this to make me sad.
His words hit something inside me that went further than that day. If each step the candle lights for me is a gift lived for me by the Jesus I worship this Christmas, perhaps each step is given to be embraced. Perhaps He desires for me to really embrace the gift of these steps and not be so concerned with trying to filter the way I feel about each one.
To receive the steps of life that bring joy with abandoned celebration and to receive the steps of life that bring pain with abandoned grief. For it’s the raw feelings of these moments that give us the gift inside them and point to the God who alone makes each of them a beautiful gift.
With the changes of my year that have scratched on old wounds, the death of my grandma this summer, my cousin this November, my grandpa this Christmas, I have had a need. And trying to push pain out of my heart feels like trying to push God out of my heart. This year, meeting God means meeting the pain of these steps and letting them sit raw in my heart for all the gift God wants to give me.
And some of the truest beauty on earth may just live in the moments where life is received like a child who takes it raw and open and honest, where Job fell on his face and David tore his clothes and Ruth lifted up her voice to weep and Jesus was in so much “anguish” before his crucifixion that his sweat was like great drops of blood. (Job 1:20, 2 Samuel 13:31, Ruth 1:9, Luke 22:44)
We are made by a God who grieves and is angry and maybe we forget what image we were created in. (Gen. 6:6, Deut. 32:21, Gen. 1:27)
In a culture that may frown on outbursts of emotion, I quickly forget the beauty in the raw feeling of the moments I’m gifted.
This raw embracing of the step my candle offers, without seeing the whole path that it’s leading me down, makes me feel cracked and broken sometimes, like I am less than enough. And that is the beauty of it.
The Gospel comes to us wrapped in stables and mangers, cow dung and animal feed.
And brokenness is the stable through which He tells the story in you and me.
Good News is spoken through us in humble wrappings, in insecurities and pain, and when I don’t keep my composure, when I know I don’t have it all together, something beautiful happens. My own strength that never can measure up is released and His own strength carries me.
It’s how He wraps Gospel in us. It’s always wrapped best in weakness. No, my candle does not call me to despair or to anything less than hope, but as I embrace the steps it lights in front of me, I am revealed as weak and struggling and He is revealed as strong.
What a beautiful gift to embrace each step, feelings felt and lifted up to the Father who carefully takes these most broken pieces of ours to wrap His most beautiful gift.