IT HAS BEEN a Christmas season like none before, something that does not come as a surprise. We’ve known for weeks that COVID was going to wreak havoc on our best laid plans and for most of us that has proven exactly true. Early on I decided to make a concerted effort to make the best of the situation, to make holy use of the “extra” time afforded me with no parties, no commutes, no standing in line after line shopping and packaging and shipping. I mean, I’ve saved at least a week in the time I have spent not drying my hair, not applying mascara, not choosing a well considered outfit.
(I have also realized you really can live a great deal of your life in a rotation of three tunic sweatshirts.)
And what of it all? How has my heart expanded as it has prepared, with greater intention, for the light that is to come?
On this 19th day of Advent, I can tell you this with certainty. I have spent far more time fretting and worrying than I have spent in contemplation.
IT’S SOMETHING I REALIZED yesterday when I read these words written by Bri McKoy, a social media influencer who is new to me and a woman whose perspective I already hold dear. Bri is sunshine and light, a soul with the kind of sweet joy I am so drawn to during these difficult days, a stranger who feels like a friend sent to buoy and cheer me on even if it is through (who would have guessed?) a focus on food and cooking. In her post yesterday she opened with this:
Good morning to anyone carrying shame in this season.
I did not relate. I will go ahead and tell you that, having never considered my complicated feelings based in shame.
But then she went on to list the ways her life feels difficult and overwhelming—the loneliness, the exhaustion, the lack of creativity in a time of such weight and confusion. And the voice in her head puts it all back on her. Do better, Bri.
You should be doing better.
I feel you, girl is what came to me then. And I acknowledged the weight, self-dealt as it is.
Bri went on to write:
As I was praying this morning and unraveling this message I’ve been holding I felt an exchange happen gently but fiercely. Instead of, “Do better, Bri” I heard, “I’m here, Bri.”
The reminder of God’s presence always melts my shame. Always exchanges guilt for grace.
The last time I checked this is our first time living in a global pandemic. We’re all figuring it out as we go. How best to love our neighbors. How best to stay connected. How best to do our part. If you have been carrying shame around not being a better version of yourself, I hope that message is exchanged this morning for the extravagance of God’s presence in your life. His intentionality with your everyday. His grace over you as you navigate this world. He has not left you, not even for a minute. He is not ashamed of you. In fact, haven’t you heard? He is absolutely taken by you.
I hope Bri’s heartfelt words serve you the way they have served me; I hope they are a reminder that even in this unprecedented time—and perhaps especially in this unprecedented time—God is here, with us, light is coming.
That is the promise of Advent.
~ XXOO ~
*Here are the places you can follow Bri McKoy, which I heartily recommend:
Bri McKoy’s website: Our Savory Life
Bri McKoy Instagram: @brimckoy
The Instagram post, above: Good Morning to Anyone Carrying Shame
30 Days of Joy
And all God’s people said “Amen”!