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I just opened my mom ‘s Christmas card and letter. In it she includes one of my all-time favorite lines from Tolkein, taken from The Fellowship of the Ring. In fact, it appears in one of the chapters of my new book. Funny how she and I are both drawn to these words . . . Tolkein writes:

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

The great mystery of Christ and Christmas is that the entire story, the entire Kingdom of God, shatters our conventions and our assumptions and invites us to consider how truth and beauty and hope and meaning might be found in the least expected places, ushered in by the least expected people.

On the surface, this is difficult for those of us who would prefer a bit more control over, for example, everything.

But I do want to create space for Christ to come to me this Christmas. To surprise me. To transcend my conventions and assumptions and control. To help me see past the glitter to the gold. Even if that requires me to rethink how I’m going about things.

I want to race around, trying to secure my own meaning and contentment. Christ invites me to LET GO. I don’t need to fix. I don’t need to fixate. I don’t need to add one more thing to my day or week that I believe will help me secure some kind of deeper Christmas experience. Instead, LET GO. So that I have room in my hands and my heart for his “other” way — the way to peace that I could never carve out for myself.

No matter where today finds you — physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, mentally, relationally — I can assure you that Christ wants to come to you this Christmas. I can assure you that he wants to surprise you with his love and grace. I can assure you that he wants to settle your heart and soul in unexpected ways.

God, in this next week, please help us breathe. Help us LET GO of managing other people, trying to control, trying to make things perfect, trying, trying, trying. We want to exhale the glitter and inhale the gold. Amen.

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.” Isaiah 45:3

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