You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave church inspired by and filled with  Truth, encouragement and passion on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the day, after the music fades and our cars leave the parking lot, pieces of the message tend to fade, too; somewhere along the way, we often lose that Sunday feeling. 

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} is our attempt to carry the Sunday message into Monday mornings by walking together and sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Each Monday, a voice from the pews will give personal perspective to the words we soaked in on Sunday. 

So follow along each Monday as we seek to integrate that Truth into our daily lives; leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

The Monday After Sunday, December 16, 2012: Christmas Wrappings: Wrapped in Mystery

By Anita Everly

My heart was already pained early last week. A friend’s news regarding a heinous act of two teenagers in her neighborhood left me feeling kicked in the gut. Another day a personal pain too difficult to keep composed drove me away from the dinner table in tears. And the truth of the darkness of this world set in thick as fog over me, well before the tragedy of Friday morning became yet another reality of this fallen world.

I was desperate for God’s light, here and now, and begged Him to show me the good.

For a moment, the darkness seemed bigger than God.

I forgot the part of John 16:33 when he said: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Even so, He sought me.

I checked my email mid-week, and a reminder was there of Emmanuel. God with us.

And in the midst of my funk and the scurrying about at home, the words from the Christmas music in my CD player belted louder than any others all day, “O Come O come, Emmanuel.”

“Emmanuel. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

God with us.

I’ve sung those songs hundreds of times and read the words with belief in them, but it started to salve over my hurting heart like brand new. That’s just how amazing the truths of God are! They can be like new to an old girl like me and speak great hope into a week in the life.

In the midst of the messy and broken and evil, God IS with us.

It didn’t take long for Him to remind me of His constant presence. The next morning my son ran downstairs and said with excitement, “Mom! Come look at the sunrise out my window!” Anxious for a glimpse of joy, I quickly ran upstairs with him to capture the majesty of our Creator through the little window. My son was beside me in awe of His sunrise.

God with us.

On Friday morning as I dusted, I noticed the manger scene arranged by my son. The plastic figurines were scrunched up so close around Jesus, the sheep right at His head. I marveled again at the pure love and ease of a child, snuggling everyone up as close as possible to Jesus. Shouldn’t we all want to be that close to Him all the time?

As I paused to look at the figurine of Jesus, I was struck by the familiar and the unfathomable, all intertwined in one.

He was fully man and fully God.

Here on earth.

Emmanuel. God with us.
Even when His human form was no longer tangible.

Songs continued to play throughout the week and He reminded me over and over of His presence in this world. Hope. Peace. Joy.

The arrangement of the song “Holy, Holy, Holy” by Matt Maher says:

From the cradle to the cross, God with us. God with us. For this broken world you love, God with us. God with us. You gave up Your only son, God with us. God with us. So that all would come to know our God with us.

And the Christmas song by Francesca Battistelli, “You’re Here,” sung so beautifully by Jacqui yesterday morning, was one I had been singing throughout the week. This song reminded me:

You could have left us on our own

But You’re here.

Hallelujah, You’re here.

Hallelujah, You’re here.

God with us.

You are here.

That in His great love He would step out of eternity to be with us is amazing.

And that He meets me at my place of need in very specific ways in the ordinary of my day — through an email, a sunrise, a plastic figurine or a song–that He is that personal to bring me hope, peace and joy is nearly unfathomable.

But that is the mystery of Christ.

Emmanuel. God with us.

Anita Everly is the wife of David and mom to their three sons.  She can be found watching the lives of her men unfold, creating a home, and encouraging other women in life and motherhood.  She is striving to live life on purpose because she is crazy in love with the One who is crazy in love with her.

One thought on “The Monday After: Christmas Wrappings: Wrapped in Mystery {Anita}

  1. Written with heart and with truth and grace abounding, Anita. Thank you so much for sharing this as many of us still struggle to process last week’s events and the bigger questions such tragedy surfaces in our minds.

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