when god gets old

holy family

the day after christmas i held my newborn son in my arms.  he was perfect.  he screamed with fresh lungs and we breathed one another for days and days.

that was eleven years ago.

we’ll sing happy birthday to him and toasted his growing up to be a fine young man this month.  i’ll watch him as he sits at a different table with his friends and thanks everyone politely for the presents they’ll bring.


eleanor made a nativity scene in her kindergarten class.

they shaped the holy family from soap, bread and glue.  she stuck toothpicks in the sheep for legs and fashioned a bale of hay.  she drew a smiley face on the angel.

and maybe jesus is ten years old for you this year.

maybe he sits at another table with other people and thanks you politely for the gifts you’ve brought him.  and maybe that feels about right.

how do we keep god from growing old?


we love the things we make so much that it can be hard to let them go.

oswald chambers asked this question four days before christmas ~

“is any experience dearer to you than your lord?  he must be lord over you, and you must not pay attention to any experience over which he is not lord.  there comes a time when god will make you impatient with your own experience – i do not care what i experience; i am sure of him.”

it seemed a cruel question to me.

if i couldn’t experience my youngest child in my arms, resting safe?  i don’t know if jesus is lord over the moment when i’m tucked in beside mazzy and she reads out loud to me, but if i don’t pay attention to that moment, i would not be me.



god stopped me and said he didn’t mean that.

he didn’t mean the good that he’s given from his hand that i’m very much meant to receive.

but he asked me to look and see if i valued spiritual experience above jesus?

denomination or political affiliation?  

worship style or order of service?

service opportunities or the way prayers are prayed?

what the person sitting next to me looks like or the way we’ve agreed to holy spirit works?

and these stung a little because yes and yes and yes.

i’ve valued experience over jesus.

i’ve aged god.



so i’m trying to take a bit of soap and bread.  i’m adding a little glue and i’m willing to work with inexperienced hands and imagine again.

how in the world did god get so low?

i roll the dough of faith around in my hands.  i push gentle fingertips into it and try to see jesus new today.  i pull fresh air into my lungs so that i can breathe ageless, unchanging god anew again.

edited repost from the archives

3 replies on “ when god gets old ”
  1. This is beautiful Zena. Ella captured the reason for Christmas. You once again have humbled me. I love you so very much.

  2. It’s like that with all relationships, isn’t it? We start out completely awed by the person in front of us and slowly and unknowingly, we see less and less awe and more and more flaw. I wish it were different with the Savior of the world. I wish we didn’t fall away so easily. I wish we could see him clearly every day so that we might worship him in unfailing awe like he deserves.

  3. hey sarah,

    i agree that we begin to see the flaws during long term relationships – and we also lose interest when we relate to each other in the same ways over and over again…it can be like that with god.

    here’s to being creative in relationship with the creator of the world!

    ~ zena

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