Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room


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This is not about Black Friday, but I’m about to link to a bunch of stuff, and just so you know, I’m not being paid in any way for it. This is about my house full of little boys who are asking hard questions about why there’s evil in the world and how is Jesus king. Jude is a songwriter at age 8, and yesterday’s song said this: “What was the murderer’s death? What was the murderer’s death? Was it love, or was it hate? All hate can’t beat Your love.”

This is about little children not realizing how they grapple with atonement. This is about little children, about when they fall, catching them in our arms and showing them the metaphors.

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Our Titus can work the system with the best of them. He gets out of bed every night, so daddy can show him the boundaries. There’s something safe about a daddy with boundaries. Apparently Titus wants to be shown nightly. This black and white photo is of Seth trying not to laugh, which is basically him all the time.

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The boys are back in public school. I forgot to tell you this, but it’s a story layered thick with mercy. It’s too long. I’ll tell you later.

Last week we had a Thanksgiving lunch at school. Parents came to be with their children. Music played, and I tasted lunchroom turkey for the first time since maybe 8th grade. It was goodly terrible, terribly good. Isaac leaned his head into me again and again. He rubbed my back. “I love you, Mama.” They see it when we come for them.

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We’ve prepared for Advent and will celebrate it with our community every Sunday night. We’re asking questions about sacramental living. Is there not a sacred intention for this whole world? Didn’t it start with a child?

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Yesterday we finally got Ann Voskamp‘s new book Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. The boys are starting to understand. They opened the pages and flipped through. “Let’s find Jesus,” they said.

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift starts in the beginning. It tells us the greater story, pulls the thread through creation at its intention, God’s image, His love leading in the wilderness, His family tree extending, becoming our roots.

Advent begins this Sunday, and we’ve bought the candles and Ann’s beautiful book. I’m hanging reminders, like these simple prints from Aliza Latta.

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It’s strange, but in some ways I feel like I’m just now recovering after birthing Titus. He was sick early on, and only now have things felt less dramatic, though he has a brain scan one week from tomorrow. He’s three years old, and I just now have some of my own brain back. One year ago I was in the Mayo Clinic with him.

I haven’t been wanting to write lately. I want to read, and I want to read it all. I want to go to seminary, and I’m not joking. For a long time, it was as if I was hungry but didn’t know how to feed. Maybe trauma, anxiety, and depression had something to do with it. But now I’m hungry, and I’m filling up.

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Seth and I have been reading a book called, For the Life of the World about sacramental living, and strangely we just finished a video series with the boys that goes by the same title.

For the Life of the World, the video series, has encouraged us more than anything in a long time, and I hope we’ll watch every year as a precursor to Advent. I won’t go into it much, except to say that it is one of the most sound and creative works of truth and beauty I have ever seen. The videos are presented as “Letters to the Exiles,” and the creators make following Jesus sound like the most reasonable and glorious thing one could ever do. I don’t care if you’re Pentecostal, Church of Christ, Catholic, Baptist, or Pagan, I am basically begging you to go in with some friends to buy these, plan some pizza nights, and watch these.

Other things I recommend:

THESE BOOKS

God Made Light by Matthew Paul Turner (The boys LOVE this book!)

Freefall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning,  Bible Study by Rebekah Lyons

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, a beautifully written book by Sarah Hagerty

THIS PRAYER

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
– Collect for Proper 28 from the 1979 BCP.

 

THIS DISCIPLINE

Read The Daily Office every day.

Talk to the kids about real stuff. Show them the scriptures when everyday real-life reminds you of what you’ve read.

We are a part of an ancient story. Remember this, the whole of it, and God will suddenly be a God big enough to forgive, big enough to conquer death, and big enough to come again. If He is Ancient of Days, then justice comes.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Don’t forget your digestive enzymes. Don’t forget the lonely. Don’t forget to say WE more than you talk about THEY. Little acts of peace like holding the tongue is the ancient way, the way that says there is more to the story, the way that trusts. Peace follows real gratitude, friends.

All the love in the world to you,

Amber

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God. And the PEACE of God, which surpasses all comprehension, willguard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 
Finally, brethren [or sisterine], whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:6-8

amberhaines
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6 Comments

cassie
Reply November 26, 2014

I just wanted to say hi. And let you know that I am still here following along your journey. I hope you have the best thanksgiving. xo

Jean
Reply November 26, 2014

Totally off topic, but I really love the new hair!! Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for being real!

Tara Livesay
Reply November 26, 2014

Thanks Sister(ine) - loved that.

Amy Preston
Reply November 26, 2014

Feeling the same way....hunger, with a deep desire to fill up and pour out. Thank you for sharing. Your words have a way of bringing clarity to life and loving Jesus. Just learned of and got a wonderful book....the greatest words ever spoken, by Steven Scott. It is the words of Jesus arranged by category and topic.

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