“Perhaps” Is Where the Holy One Finds Us

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM December 17, 2022

Perhaps by now, the tree is already trimmed. Perhaps candles glow from their place in the center of each window. Perhaps a wreath adorns the front door and the aroma of gingerbread or sugar cookies wafts from the kitchen. Perhaps one more stamped card enters the mailbox and carols sing joyfully from your iPhone. Perhaps a creche waits under the tree. Perhaps your life at this moment feels like a Hallmark Christmas movie. Emmanuel, God with us, enters into all these places of “Perhaps.”

Or perhaps none of these signs of the approaching Christmas is visible in your life. Perhaps this year, your heart is disconsolate over the loss of a loved one, and you consider it an achievement to simply pull yourself out of bed in the morning to face a new day. Perhaps the still fresh, still raw wounds of a cherished relationship severed not by your choice have numbed you to all but the necessary motions of daily living. Perhaps you’re overwhelmed by despair at the seeming insignificance or failure of your life. Perhaps the abrupt termination of a job causes you to catch your breath in fear of what your future and the future of your children will hold. Perhaps the empty place at the table breaks your heart open with anxiety over not knowing where your loved one might be at this moment. Perhaps your heart is heavy with a sense of the Holy One’s absence, or your unworthiness, or your own deep regrets over past mistakes and their impact on the people you love. Emmanuel, God with us, enters into all these places of “Perhaps” as well.

The good news: The Holy One comes to us wherever we are, in every possible state of mind or heart, in every form of “Perhaps.” More good news: the coming of Emmanuel, God with us, is not dependent on how we feel or how many carols we can sing or whether the very notes of those songs choke in our throats. Emmanuel comes as grace, searching and welcoming the exile in all of us, the parts of our lives that we hold in shadow, the corners of our being that we’re too terrified to name or befriend.

Who ever we are, and wherever our life may have led us at this moment, Emmanuel, God with us, is here. Here for us. For all of us. No exceptions.

I invite you to accept the invitation in this song, O Come, All You Unfaithful,” written by Lisa Clow and Bob Kauflin for Sovereign Grace Music.

Sit in stillness with the Holy One, and savor these words.

“Come, all you unfaithful.
Come, weak and unstable.
Come, know you are not alone.
“O come, barren and waiting one,
Weary of praying, come,
See what your God has done.
Christ is born, Christ is born, Christ is born for you.”

The Holy One comes into our world, into our lives, into our hearts. No “Perhaps” about it!

Featured Image: Davidson Luna, Unsplash

The blessings of Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and the peace of holy days to all! Thank you for following my blog, Mining the Now, for your comments and your support. Know that you are ever in my prayers of gratitude today and through the new year to come.

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7 thoughts on ““Perhaps” Is Where the Holy One Finds Us”

  1. Chris, this is so beautiful…indeed there are the good “perhaps” but most are still “in progress” and a number of dear ones around me are in the 2nd half of your reflection…having recently and in one case, very suddenly from car accident lost 2 family members just last week. Their double “celebration of life” is next Thursday & I will help with the music…the mother, 104 & daughter, 72 (the day before her 73rd birthday)…on the way to Mass! LIfe is so precious and Emmanuel is indeed with us. Thank you. Blessings of joy and comfort in the days & year ahead.

  2. I listened Chris, and promised myself to think of all the people in our world whose hearts are so heavy at this season. The Incarnation is celebrated for each of them, because Christ came and His promise to be with us always still holds. I will hold all the broken, wounded hearts in mine these days.
    Peace to you.

  3. Oh, this beautiful song! Brought tears to my eyes- joyful, “God with us”, tears. Thank you for including it in your devotional!
    Christmas Blessings!!

  4. I printed this out so I could refer to it all week. The Cornerstone zoom prayer group used this reflection last night. There is so much richness in every line. “Perhaps” the Holy Spirit spoke through you to reach our hearts. Thank you so much. Many blessings be with you this Christmas season. Love Anne

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