Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Year of Joy {Looking Back}


In this my year of joy, I have relearned that the Lord Himself is the only sure and certain joy; that joy must be fought for by seeking His face in the Scriptures and prayer, in Christian friendships and in Creation. He has kindly sent me tokens of joy and providence in some of the hardest moments of 2022, and there were many. (Books, birds, and butterflies provided some of them, as you may expect.)

Below are some of the best quotes I’ve collected on joy or which felt adjacent to it. (It has been my habit for some years to watch for and gather up occurrences of my year’s focal word in my reading.) As you will see, Christian joy is often discovered in the midst of sorrow and through sorrow (not in opposition to it).

Monday, December 26, 2022

Christmas Lovelight

Tricolor dog with black face and brown eyes stares at the camera. He lies on a cream crocheted blanket. Red, chewed-up tissue paper is next to him.

Lord of light,

Lord of love,

Who rested not content in darkless, unblemished, eternal glory

Without the people You created:

People who traded Your bright fellowship for the darkling bondage of iniquity.

In Christmastide we remember and celebrate

The mystery of infinite, omniscient, omnipotent Deity

Weaving Himself into double helix,

Pouring Himself into a single human cell

In the confines of a virgin's womb.

While no less God,

You took upon Yourself the finitude of human form,

The patience of gestation,

The trauma of birth in blood and water.

Your voice--which shatters cedars and shakes wilderness,

stripping forests bare in power and splendor--

Cried out, hungrily inhaling the oxygen You spoke into being.

You, Savior, submitted to swaddling;

In humility, You gave Yourself to be diapered, held, rocked.

You who hold up the world by the Word of Your power

Condescended to months unable to hold up Your own head,

Immortal clothed in epidermis of mortality.

And why?

For love of Your enemies,

Sinners, rebels, reprobates,

Who deserve only wrath.

You entered our world,

Into every aspect of humanity but sin,

Lived the righteous life we could not,

Died the criminal's death we deserved,

Atoned for sin,

Conquered death,

Begat us to a living hope

Through Your resurrection from the dead.

Being fully human, You were a suitable substitute for scoundrel sinners

Such as I.

Being fully God, You were a sufficient substitute for all sinners

Who call on You in faith

(Such as I),

Trusting in Your name,



Anointed One.

You took up our tears that we might find joy.

You took up our mourning that we might dance.

You took up our sickness that we might be whole.

You took up our hunger that we might be satiated.

You took up our sins that we might wear the garb of Your righteousness.

You took our judgment that we might receive grace.

You laid aside the glory of Sonship that children of wrath might be adopted sons of the Most High.

You enfleshed the Old Covenant and inaugurated the New,

Implanting new hearts that beat the rhythm of Your law.

Christ, our Passover, You gave Yourself for us

As priest and sacrifice.

Grant us grace to walk in forgiven freedom

Under the bright shelter of Your love and mercy,

Peace and grace,

Loving You who first loved us

And loved us to the end.

All praise to You, King Jesus,

For coming to shatter our darkness with Your sunrise from on high.

Come soon, Lord Jesus.


Sunday, December 18, 2022

Bookish News

Happy and blessed Advent, crumbles!

If you follow me on Instagram (@crumbsfromhistable), this first bit is old news, but bear with me.

One of my essays was included in a real, live, printed book which released earlier this month. Keeping It Real with Arthritis is a collection of stories by patients and caregivers worldwide who are affected by the many dozens of types of arthritis. The ebook is included in the Kindle Unlimited library. Both paperback and ebook are available here (affiliate link):

In the next bit of writing news, I have gathered my writing related to Advent and Christmas into an ebook (PDF) as a gift for my email subscribers. If you already read blog posts by email, you should have already received the link. If you didn’t and it isn’t in your spam, please email me (reply to the email with this post) and we’ll sort it out. 

At some future date this collection may be offered for purchase on Amazon, but for now the only way to receive it is to subscribe to this blog by email. I pray it blesses and encourages you. You are welcome to print it out and/or send it to your e-reader. If you want to share it with a friend, I’d be grateful if you encouraged your friend to join you as a subscriber.

There are several more blog posts on my heart for the rest of the year and start of 2023, but this month has not looked at all as expected or hoped. We'll see. If I prove unable to post again before Christmas, I nevertheless pray you know the sweetness and joy of Christ's presence and love at Christmas and always, no matter the details of your circumstances in earthly terms.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

The Peace of Letting Go

 “And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1‬:‭38‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

At the end of the first week of Advent,
I escaped home duties and cacophony of power tools
For the quiet delight of the path and the trees, gorgeous
With the improvident luminosity of hope.
The membrane of severance,
As impermeable as stainless steel,
Exiles the leaves from the life of the tree,
This death necessary to protect the new life within,
Wherein dwells hope.

Behold the beauty of their surrender:
Maroon, plum, saffron, cerise,
Gold worthy of Solomon’s temple,
The forest green of the junipers,
The gnarled hands of live oaks reaching heavenward,
Palms open.
With Mary the virgin,
They accept what Providence appoints:
“Let it be to me according to your word.”