The Already and Not Yet

 

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I have a confession to make and I’m not proud about it.

I am a sucker for Hallmark Christmas movies.

Yes, I know exactly how they are going to pan out about five minutes in. Yes, I understand that there are gaping plot holes in nearly everyone of them. Yes, I get that the writing is terrible—I’m all too aware. But still, it’s a guilty pleasure for my sister and I.

We will watch tons of them each year, looking for both the most ridiculous one, but also, the sweetest one.

But this past weekend, I latched on to the formula—and yeah, I’ve always known there was a formula. There was something oddly familiar about this formula though.

In each one, a big-city woman working in marketing, or advertising, or brand management (this is apparently a bad thing) who has lost sight of her dreams, is thrust in to small-town life where she happens upon a handsome single father and his precocious child. Charmed by both the town and the child, she begins to feel at home, lets down her walls, and rediscovers her childhood dream. In this starry-eyed state, she begins to fall for the single father and he for her. Her oh-so-wrong for her, rich fiancé comes on the scene (they have been separated by winter weather, clerical mix-up, or other forms of hi-jinx) and stirs doubt and maybe conflict between our heroine and single-dad. But all prevails on Christmas eve when the woman and her fiancé decide they are not destined to be together because she loves the small town and wants to pursue origami, or water color painting, or whatever her long-lost aspiration has been. She and single-dad run into each others arms, share a kiss, and precocious child gets a puppy. The end.

These movies are fun to watch, but they are so not about Christmas. Not really. For all the obvious reasons, but also for some not-as-obvious ones as well.

We have an inherit sense of how things are supposed to be—how we so desperately want them to be. Just like in a Hallmark movie, we want everything to be tied up in a nice little bow in the next hour and a half.

No threads left untied, no relationship not brought to rights, no issues outstanding.

But this is not reality.

Advent marks a celebration. Years of anticipation resulting in a savior being born to a world so desperately in need of him. And yet it also marks a deep longing.

We are brought face to face with the knowledge that all is taken care of. Our fate is sealed—we are rescued and renewed. And yet, we are not yet.

This is a season in which we are to be more aware of the already-but-not-yet state of our existence. This place where we live covered in righteousness, and yet still so in need of grace. This place where we watch brokenness pressing in on all sides, knowing that wholeness is there to be had, but not quite yet.

May you find the space to mourn what is not yet and to find joy in what has been freely given already.

Have a blessed Advent season here in the Already but Not Yet.

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Christmas: The Heritage of Longing

I love and hate Christmas.

I feel like most single women can echo the sentiment.

It’s wonderful to spend the time with family, to decorate the house, to enjoy the homecoming of friends you haven’t seen in a while. Candlelight services, caroling, advent. It’s a wonderful time of year.

And then there is also the awkward time spent with family, the stress of hosting get-togethers, crazy malls. The forgetting of the meaning of this season.

And I don’t mean the world forgetting to stop and celebrate Christ’s birth. We live in a fallen world where Christ’s sovereignty is denied on an hourly basis. Of course I don’t expect the general population to celebrate Christ’s birth.

 I mean what we forget within the body of Christ.

See, part of what makes Christmas a hard time of year for me is the longing. I long to share romantic Christmas dates with someone special. I long to have a family of my own to make Christmas memories with. I at least just long to say yes when the “are you seeing someone?” brigade intrudes on holiday gatherings.

It’s easy to let the unmet longing shade the season of hope and joy, but I think to ignore the longing is to miss something important in this season.

Because Christmas is a celebration of longing.

The world was in desperate need of the messiah and the longing for his presence throughout the Old Testament is unmistakable. In Christ’s coming to earth, that longing was met and through his death, fulfilled.

In this season of advent, we now long for Christ’s return.

I was reminded by a friend earlier this month that God has given each of us specific longings and needs to draw us in to him. We try to fill those longings with relationships, or status, or possessions, but of course that doesn’t work.

Having a boyfriend, or husband and family would not ease this hunger in my soul this season. Not really.

Because there is still great longing in me for what will not be met on this side of heaven. And so often I misdiagnose that longing and loneliness I feel to be that of a relationship with a man rather than my need for unbroken relationship with God.

But that longing is why we celebrate this season. We look forward to having this longing met in the second coming of our king. And we give thanks for the first coming and the sacrifice that makes our longing able to be met.

We are descendants in a heritage of longing. We are beautiful beggars waiting for our hunger to be satisfied.

This season is an invitation to face our longings head on and seek the truth of what we really desire.

So this is my challenge as we head into this week. As you experience the longing, loneliness, or discontentment of your holiday season, look at the feeling in light of advent. In light of the anticipation and desire of what is before us.

Rest in the knowledge that your longing will one day be met.

Until then, may you find joy and peace this Christmas season.

Last Minute Gift Idea: December Favorites

Many many moons ago, I decided I was going to have lists of five favorites every month and that only happened once. I was going to call it “Friday Favorites” and every Friday rolled around with no dice*. Well, if you’re looking for last minute gifts for the bohemian in your life, here are five ideas that may help you finish up your shopping!

1. Ipsy Glambag 
Do you have a make-up junkie in your life? Ipsy is a great site for make-up tips and tricks as well as product recommendations and deals. I recently subscribed to the Ipsy Glambag and have fallen in love. For $10 a month, you can subscribe for you or a loved one to get name brand, full size beauty products sent to your door. I have recently come into the possession of some great products not to mention a fabulous little make up bag. If you subscribe, be sure to add me as a referral! I’m on their site as LexFromBohemia.

2. Frozen
My love language is not gifts. Don’t get me wrong, presents are nice, but they don’t make me feel any more or less loved. My love language is time spent. One of my favorite ways to spend time is dinner and a movie… and maybe coffee afterward. This month, I had the pleasure of going to see Frozen with a couple friends. Disney has done it again. On a scale of Princess and the Frog to Tangled, it is definitely on the Tangled side of the princess spectrum. It’s a wonderful story about sisterhood that really makes me wish I could watch it with my own sister! Buy movie tickets for your loved one and spend a night on the town!

3. Decomposition Books
Looking for a gift for the writer in your life? Look no further! I love a new notebook!… Maybe a little too much since I have more empty than filled, but still love a good notebook. Decomposition books are made out of recycled materials and have great vintage designs on both the inner and outer covers. I bring mine whenever I plan to write but won’t have my laptop. It’s been a creativity saver for sure.

4. Jane Austen Novel’s
Unless you haven’t realized, Jane Austen is one of my writing heroes. Actually, if God wasn’t writing my life, I would hope Jane Austen was. I love reading Jane Austen around Christmas. There’s just something about reading about regency life in front of the Christmas tree that just feels right. This year, I’m reading Persuasion. Canterbury Classics has a beautiful leather bound copy any Jane Austen fan would love to own.

5. Black Pumps
I have a shoe addiction. And I love getting wardrobe staples as gifts. H&M has some wonderful classic pumps that have easily become my favorite shoes. Any shoe-loving lady will love these simple, timeless pumps. Comfortable and stylish. I have worn mine with cocktail dresses, dress paints, and jeans. Pretty much any chance I get to wear them, I do.

I hope this helps for the preppy bohemians in your life you have yet to buy for.
Merry Christmas! I hope you are blessed by this season!
xo,
        –Lex

*You see what I did there?