(I wrote this in the Chicago airport but the complimentary Wifi ran out before I could publish it. So, here I am at 1 am back in my Brooklyn apartment posting my last Christmas entry.)
Real life is not vacation.
It’s not the slow, beautiful weeks spent in between months of regular workdays. Real life is both I guess, but today I go back to the flatlands because there is nothing mountaintoppy about living regular life.
I’m making pancake monday plans and texting all the folks I need to meet up with and brunch in with and dream big with. I’m dreaming up new chalkboard designs for the business owner down the street and I’m summoning courage to fight regular fights.
Because real life is in the flatlands.
I read that phrase in my advent devotional yesterday and I’m convinced it will be my theme this year. Jesus was born a baby to no pomp and circumstance – certainly not to all the ceremony we give to this time of year – but then he grew up regular. He lived life in the flatlands. He worked and walked and greeted neighbors. He sat down to dinner and learned how to work an anvil in the woodshop. He participated in traditions and went to family reunions and walked through the markets and had sleepless nights.
I’ve noticed that on vacations and at family gatherings, conversations always seem to circle around to bigger questions about purpose and calling and hope. There is a herd of elephants in the room inside questions like, “Is this it?”
Because being engineers and doctors and teachers and ministry leaders and salesmen and bankers and non-profit workers and hourly wage earners… well, that’s something. But it is certainly not “it” or there wouldn’t be so many elephants. We all know that no matter how successful or stagnant our lives feel, we can’t ever win a bigger prize than what has already been offered to us.
That prize already happened. He was born in a manger and we just celebrated His birth. And He is holding all things together until we walk into eternity by His side. He is why life in the regular means anything and why it means everything. Christ holds life together (Colossians 1:17), all the ordinary everyday-ness of it, so that His glory is proclaimed.
Christ is with me now in the flatlands of real life because He has already lived the flatlands before.
I’m headed back to Brooklyn with a lot of questions. Every regular day in the flatlands is not exciting. Sometimes (most times) my days are just regular and I know God loves to make His name great in mangers and woodshops and plain, crowded city streets.