i’m sitting at the philadelphia airport right now, waiting for my delayed flight to california as i wait for friday night lights to download from itunes (it says 24 no 26 hours remaining to download). but as i sit here and eagerly look forward to escaping this 23 degree weather, i’m a little sad that my christmas season didn’t really start for me till the 20th. that means i missed out on nearly 4 weeks of the Christmas season. i told katie last night that, surely, Jesus doesn’t want me in law school if i’m going to keep missing out on advent for the next few years. but i might be wrong on that.
but it is nice to have a break from school. the reality of that didn’t really hit me till late last night when i realized the beauty of the fact that all i had to get done was packing. no outlining, no memos, no reading, no studying. just packing. so naturally i put it off till the last minute like i did with school.
as terrible as finals were for me (i told someone that i felt as if my exams had stolen a part of my soul) – i was sitting in church yesterday, unmoved to Christmas joy as my pastor encouraged us to receive and hope in Christ. then he asked a question to the cynics like me to ask God why we were lacking joy, why we were unable to embrace and receive the joyous mercies of advent. and then he of course so ingeniously asked “are you bitter, or disappointed or lacking trust with God?” and i realized that i was so petrified and pre-dreading my return to philly for the spring semester that I was keeping God at a distance, as if He were a mean judge come to earth to sap my joy through law school. i realized that i had utterly failed at the process of going through finals in the right way, that i didn’t want to have to go through it again. (frantically looking for a brown bag while panicking over a crim law final isn’t exactly the sign of a person surrendered to the power of God). law school life just wasn’t what i envisioned for myself (studying, not so cool, not so fun, not much fruit – in my opinion).
i came home and read an excerpt by Johann Arnold and Gail Godwin, and what each writer pointed to was the fact that this life, this season of Advent isn’t about us or our own individual needs, as much as it is about the greater reality of Christ’s coming and what He is doing. and even more encouraging was a note on Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew, which is packed with unimportant, scandalous, fallen people- all used by God, all written into Christ’s story to play a part.
don’t get me wrong, i’m still nauseous over the fact that i have to do finals 5 more times before the bar. but finals sucked for me not because of God, but because of me and my repeated default to trust my own efforts before i trust in God’s. i remember Cliffe Knechtle once said that when believers aren’t transformed by God, it isn’t because God isn’t able to transform us, it’s because we resist His transforming. i have been baptized into the Holy Spirit with fire. i forget this about every 2 weeks, and i fail at living this every day. but still, I am being made whole by the Christ who has come, and will come again.
“to give to his people the knowledge of salvation, by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:77-79