Playdates with God: Enter Advent with Bread

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On Sunday morning I sanctify Jeffrey’s pancakes. I speak the invitation and the words of institution over the puddles of syrup on his plate. He chews slow and looks at me out of the corner of his eye.

I am practicing—for in a couple hours I’ll be presiding over my first ever Communion Table all by myself. It’s a gift my pastors have given me and it feels strange to let these sacred words make my tongue holy—to make this kitchen and this table and every moment I breathe…holy.

I am all shaky inside but I am happy too.

The night before, I read through the entire section in the Book of Common Worship on The Eucharist. I googled up different ways to say it all and felt my heart pulse wonder and gratitude at this great mystery. In the end I returned to the Book of Common Worship. There is a reason it is the standard.

I wrote my own script out by hand, combining different pieces of all I read and this is what I speak over Jeffrey’s pancakes. And I speak the words a couple hours later, to my brothers and sisters that I worship with every Sunday. These people who have been Jesus to me—the ones who give him hands and skin.

It makes me breathless and I want to take off my shoes—right there in front of the Table—take off my shoes and dance down the aisle. It wouldn’t matter if I stumbled over a few words then, would it? I say this, “Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God…”

Shouldn’t we? Dance?

“It is the resurrected, living Christ we encounter in the bread and the wine…”

Is this not cause to rejoice?

Afterwards, we have Sunday school and go on home and I fall asleep on the couch—just like I hadn’t just shared a feast with Jesus. Just like this is normal…to share a table with the risen Lord…is this normal?

Later we meet back up at the church and we frock her in green and light. It’s a small crowd but love flows thick down these halls and I–I know what Communion really means.

These words echo in my heart as we trim the tree: Being made one with Christ, we are made one with all who belong to Christ, united with the church in every time and place…(Book of Common Worship, page 42).

Communion. Every moment…holy. Every moment, a feast.

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

The Playdates button:

I’m making an exciting announcement today over at The High Calling! Hope you’ll accept the invitation…

Christmas in July

There is a tall White Pine outside this hospital room window and I sit on the bed and watch evenly-spaced branches bow low over the parking lot. A soft breeze blows and long needles shimmer—arced branches wave unhurriedly.

My boy is sleeping in the bed next to me—lulled into slumber by the heat of the infection he still fights off in his body. On the last day of July his appendix ruptured and I held him tight behind a curtain in the ER—willing his pain to sleep as we waited out the slow turning of the wheel of modern medicine.

I’m scared, he told me, before they wheeled him off to surgery.

Me too, I wanted to say, but instead I prayed with him and he gave me a butterfly kiss and I had to walk away from him—singing Jesus Loves Me in my mind.


Jeff and I held hands and prayed in the waiting room and I leaned on his shoulder and closed my eyes.

I guess I feel like crying because I’m so tired, I said.

And he just pulled me tighter.

And when the surgeon came out smiling it felt like I’d just come up for air from underneath a heavy ocean. This doctor is our new hero—he only just operated on our oldest the week before. After he gives us the run down and shows us pictures of the rupture, he gives us a crooked grin.

Guys, I don’t know … do you have any more kids?

We laugh, the three of us, and it feels so good I could cry.

Later, Jeffrey would tell me, God was there.

He would look me in the eye and whisper, I felt him.

I sit on this hospital bed and look out that window at that solitary pine swaying and I let the rhythm of its gentle undulation touch the tired parts of my body. I’ve never been so happy to say goodbye to July and I pray for a brighter August—for something, something to ring the bell of joy.

And that White Pine just looks on, speaking Christmas into my tired like a million brightly wrapped presents are tucked under its skirts.

This week’s memory verse:

Check previous Tuesday posts for prior verses.

For memory cards of the whole book of James visit this post.

Playdates: Spying on Advent Traditions

The morning we trim the tree, fat flakes dress the earth in threads of white. In the boughs of the naked maple—a flash of red—a cardinal in a nest of snow. I watch from the window, my feet planted in warm. The house glows soft with twinkling light.

It’s quiet—quiet here, quiet inside the walls of me. I touch the moment gently—feel around inside my heart.

Is this how it feels, I wonder?

I’ve been looking for Christmas for 18 years—ever since I married my husband and felt free to open my heart to this beloved tradition. I grew up in a home that did not celebrate the birth of the Christ-child, see. And every year when December 25 approaches, I feel the bindings of those roots. I want to leave a different legacy for my children—one that delves deep into the mystery of Christmas. Every year I look for just the right formula, try on different activities with my family in the quest for the perfect tradition.

Hop on over to The High Calling to read the rest of the article and maybe get some Advent ideas too!

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. And come tell us about it.

Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:


Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also: 

On In Around button

And with Lindsay for Messy Mondays.