the best gift we have got to give the next generation (and it’s not what’s popularly peddled)

Ours is a love that meets each other at 3 am.

We meet each other in the dark, hands reaching…

One of hers fingering the dark for the bottle I’m bringing, the other looking for my hand, looking to grip my hand.

In the dark, night after night, her one hand holds the bottle and gulps comfort, the other, lacing her fingers through mine, yearning for and finding even more.

What do you need to give your kids, the next generation, all the world’s children more than anything else?

This is a passing world — a world that is passing away, and a world passing on its legacy, and the children are looking up and straight into us, asking the world what in this banged-up world are you all passing down to us?

One of my people carried her baby to the morgue today.

There’s orphaned children begging for their lives in Aleppo right now. There’s mothers starving in the cold and in the crossfire, pleading for their lives of their children, who keep reaching out hands too.

There’s Mary, mother of the Christ Child, carrying hope closer every day to the mire of the muck of this world and she does not turn away.

I know — everything can feel like it’s imploding, breaking and broken and busted. The world, the headlines, the powers and politics that be, the church and the debates raging everywhere.

Advent can ache and yearn for His coming and this is the way it’s meant to feel.

Stroking back a little girl’s hair in the dark, in a baffling, bruising world, I know this and I want my daughter to only know this:

The most revolutionary thing a woman can do is not let anything but the Cross explain her life.

Nothing could be more revolutionary. The Cross has been the crux and the axle and the lynch pin of history for the last 2,000 years and pull out the Cross or belittle it to a footnote in the explanation of your life, and this begins the fragmentation of your life.

This is the key, the Truth, that every one of us needs to pass on:

A woman’s most sacred responsibility is to be so comfortable not just only in her own skin, but in being in Christ, in being shaped and formed like Christ, like the Cross, being cruciform, becoming the gospel, that she becomes more interested in the ways of Christ, than in what others think of her — or what she thinks she wants.

Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s all about you, when you could be all about the world.

And the world always begins where your feet are, and the next need is. 

I pull our littlest one close in the stilled dark…

How do you live the only thing that makes any sense and makes you any bit of sane?

A life focused on self-fulfillment is to your self-detriment.

Swallow that elixir down, let that never stop sustaining you, Child.

A life focused on self-fulfillment is to your self-detriment.

The credo of self-fulfillment is ultimately to your self-detriment. 

And the gospel of cruciformation is the only one that ultimately leads to transformation. 

Live cruciform — shaped like the self-giving of the cross — and your life forms into fulfillment.   

This is the Truth.

And the thing is? If your Truth isn’t His Truth — then it isn’t the Truth.

The truth you get to live, is, thank God, more than your own finite, fallible one — you could live the fullest, realest Truth.

Living His truth bravely — is enough.

Living His truth is everything.

The greatest gift any of us can give to the world is more than our true self — it’s our self hidden in Christ who is The Truth.

I know they’re not out peddling this, and I know this doesn’t play well, sell well, or sometimes even sit well, but you can trust it, this is what makes all things well: Humans don’t most flourish when they follow their desires — but when they follow God’s.

No one gets to be their own God — and still say they love God.

There’s only one Who’s died and been made the King of everything.

Humans flourish through renunciation. Christ begs the bravest to dare to take the broken way because there is no other way to abundance:

Self-denial is ultimately the way to self-fulfillment.

We deny ourselves to follow Jesus. We deny ourselves to serve our neighbor. We deny ourselves — to find ourselves.

In denying — there is finding.

This is a hard thing. This is a holy thing. This is the thing that will make you whole.

It will hurt. It will be like becoming Real.

I’d met a Mama who said she read and dared to take The Broken Way and she said that she too had held the curled ball of her boy in the middle of the night like I held our girl.

And she had begged the Maker of the Universe through the night watches to let the best pieces of herself be given to her boy.

How to not fail the next generation, how do you not fail our people, how to be the best us, how give forward the best of us? 

What in the name of one Holy God are we all passing on, in a passing away world?

She’d leaned over the edge of the crib, her sleep-sweating boy heavy in her arms.

And when her son gently rolled down into the cradling warmth of the crib — it was right there, right there on the little boy’s cheek.

The imprint of the Cross.  Faintly etched in black… from her penned wrist — passed on to his hot cheek.

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“You know — you know how The Broken Way dared me to draw a cross on my wrist every day?” she looked me right in the eye.

“The way you picked up a pen, the pen you wrote down thanks for your One Thousand Gifts, and now you draw every day the form and shape of your life, right there on your wrist — a cross? A visual to live broken and given — to live… cruciform?”

I’d nodded, watched her eyes welling.

“Well, I’m telling you — I realize — this dare to the broken way—   ”

She points to the cross she’d drawn with a black pen that morning on her wrist…

This here is all there ever is to give to our people. This is the best way to live — to have anything to give…” She’s punctuating every word with a finger tapping that cross on her wrist.

When we live cruciform — we form our lives into containers that can be fulfilledfilled with meaningfulness. Purpose. Kindness.

When we live cruciform — the next generation forms into more hope. 

When I lay our littlest girl down too last night, slip my hand out from under her warmth, she stretches out in the safest sleep — and there it is too, imprinted into her — passed on to her:

A Cross on her cheek. From my wrist — from my heart — to hers. The Cross, the only way forward that makes sense of insane things, impossible things, that is the most life-giving way forward through anything.

The way we are — is what the next generation will know.

In her sleep, she reaches for my hand and we hold on to each other at 3 am, our fingers crossed and brave, for such a time as this.

 

Give the gift of Breaking Free with The Broken Way

 Dare to let the Realest Light break in this Christmas

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