Advent · Faith · Memorial · Pilgrimage · Weird

december 1…

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.”

1Samuel 7:12 ESV

This December 1 is a weird place for me to be…

Today… the church where I worship begins reading an Advent book… offered church-wide as a means to highlight the season…

What makes it weird for me… for this faith community to be reading this book is… I wrote it… I published it…

Jeremiah's Menu-Ebenezer-Weird.jpg

When they chose to purchase and offer the book church-wide… I was both humbled… and terrified… still too much fear of man lurking in my heart… still too much discomfort with this call He’s placed on my life…

I wasn’t quite sure how I would approach the Advent season this year… not quite sure what to do with my book as the Advent fare for my faith community…

You see… the process of writing this book didn’t start as a book at all… it began as a means to learn about Jesus… share His story with my three small children… some twenty-plus years ago…

We revisited the Advent verses in the book each December for years… long before it was a book…

It was the annual pilgrimage which brought about the writing of The Heart of Bethlehem

The actual editing required to publish… put me in these words outside the Advent season for several years…

My children… now young adults… homes of their own… I no longer make the annual trek…

I wondered how I would approach Advent this year…

Waking this morning… December 1… I feel Him nudge… Read through it again… Read through The Heart of Bethlehem…

I pick up the book… read what I’ve read numerous times… and hear Him speak afresh through the words…

Reliving part of my journey with Him… blew fresh wonder into my soul…

Doing the day’s reading… answering the questions which go along with the devotional… I wonder at the words I journal… the way my story has continued past what was preserved in those pages…

You know… it’s really weird… when what He’s done through you… He uses later… to grow you further…

That’s when you know it’s not you… it’s Him…

The Heart of Bethlehem… has become for me an Ebenezer… a memorial stone… of God’s work in my life…

The same kind of memorial the Israelites set on the far side of the Jordan… having crossed over into the Promised Land…

“Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.”

Joshua 4:3 ESV

A reminder of my journey with Him… His faithfulness… and His continued presence in my life…

“…When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them…”

Joshua 4:6-7 ESV

It’s just a weird place to be… this December 1… returning to this Ebenezer… asking myself… What do these stones mean to you…?

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