An Everyday Sacred

I attend Bible Study Fellowship. Recently we’ve been studying the perfect holiness of God, and looking for the sacred in our own lives. God told the Israelites in Leviticus 11:44 “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” As a believer, Christ is my holiness, and out of gratitude for that, I seek to be more like Him, more set apart.  I’ll admit I felt bad as I struggled to find anything, anyplace, anytime that I could identify in my life as reverently set apart to God. I couldn’t really even count my Bible, as I confess I treat it pretty casually. It’s still the most special book in the house, but sacred? Not especially.

But then I realized that there is a time and a place that is sacred in our family, and especially to me. It’s family Advent, a Christmas tradition we began when my 19 year old was one and a half. I know without a doubt that it is sacred to me, although an outside viewer might not readily see it. We have celebrated Advent with a crying baby in arms, rebuking fighting children, and so late and last-minute that a whiney, tired child had to be sent to bed in the middle. We have had to stop sneaky child-made breezes that gutter the candles, and put out a cat’s tail set afire when it insisted on being a part of the ritual. Yet, in the midst of the craziness, Advent is still quite sacred to me, unquestionably so.

I wasn’t sure why until I set out our alternative to a Christmas tree this year. See, we are a household of the Artificial Tree due to family allergies. When we added cats to the family, they were delighted when the faux tree appeared. They loved to scale its metal branches and roost near the wooden center. Unfortunately, nothing I tried would keep them away for long, and as they grew to adulthood, they proved to be sizable cats indeed. Eventually I had to give up the Christmas tree due to metal fatigue in the branches. My oldest son, a talented woodworker, crafted our alternative: a manger. It’s no more than a primitive feed box for cattle around which we pile our gifts. But I realized this year that that simple frame box qualifies as sacred to me, too. I do miss our Christmas tree, but the manger my son built has added something truly holy to present-opening on Christmas Day: Christ’s Presence. It has added Immanuel, God With Us.

And then I realized that that is why our Advent time is sacred to me. It ushers our family into Christ’s Presence. It brings us before Immanuel as we are, and we are transformed there. Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Certain things and places and events help me really feel closer to God, and my worshipful response to those reminders of who Christ is are what makes those sacred. It is truly the heart attitude that I bring, one infused with the light of Christ’s Presence, that makes any thing or place or event sacred. It is a blessing, an honor, that we as believers have: to take things as common as candles and feed troughs, and even poor bumbling homemakers, and see God elevate them to the level of the sacred, set apart for God Almighty.

And that is the last lesson God taught me on sacredness. That *I,* and YOU, as His adopted daughter, are sacred. I have been set apart by God for Himself. Even if I can find no place in my home, no thing in my home that is sacred, because I myself have been set apart by God, my life can be testament to His holiness, and can point others to Him. What a humbling, uplifting realization!

  Our manger.

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