The dark comes early and my body responds in kind. The wind begins to blow as I sit here on the couch in the early evening. I have turned on the Christmas lights and the room twinkles with warm. There is a soft blanket around my knees and a dog asleep beside me.
I don’t know what is wrong with the turning of the earth—mid-December and 62 degrees outside. The birds linger in this mild. Just this morning I saw a flock of hundreds silhouetted against the burning sky—flying over the freeway.
Where do you go? I wanted to call upward as they inked out the sky. But they don’t hear my heart-cry. They don’t look down.
I watch the trees surrender under the wind’s soft breath. The veriest top bends low and scrapes her branchy crown on the earth.
Sometimes He asks me to bend low too.
When he told me what they had taken from him I was angry. So much loss, so much. He cried and he was mad and he felt the small. Helpless to change the way of a few who let fear make decisions for them.
He grieved, but he surrendered it all.
And I felt my anger melt into wonder.
It reminded me of Philippians 2:5-11. It says that Jesus made himself nothing. Being in very nature God…he made himself nothing. (NIV). The NRSV says heemptied himself. It’s the Greek verb form kenóō—“to empty”.
In Christian theology, we call it kénōsis—the voluntary emptying of my own will and allowing myself to surrender to God’s will.
He cannot fill me unless I am empty.
Sometimes the world empties me when I am too weak to do it myself. Circumstances steal joy, hope is squelched and love runs out the door. And I am empty…empty.
Sometimes Christmas does this to me. Empties me out as I grieve lost years, yearn for different stories, ache to let my roots tangle back into…something…else. But when I bow low, offer it up to the One lowered himself—the One who emptied all…
Then, I am filled.
with dear Emily…