Christmas Letter 2012

From Michelle.  23 December, 2012

Dearest friends and family,

There has been much loss surrounding this Advent.  The usual rush of Christmas parties were equally scattered with farewell parties.  Steve helped facilitate the memorial services of two dear members of our church who passed on.  A friend’s son and fellow quadriplegic died at a young age just days ago.  We know many friends who are lonely or struggling.  We miss our families.  And of course, the tragic stories coming from Sandy Hook Elementary School have overwhelmed us all.

I keep thinking about God’s power made perfect in weakness.  I imagine the fragility of that babe in the manger.  I remember how, when my own children were newborns, I would lie awake at night barely breathing in order to listen for their quiet breaths.  Their little souls were wrapped in a most delicate packaging, nearly blind and deaf, barely able to move, utterly reliant.  Their grip on life seemed tenuous at best.

There is a kind of hushed awe that surrounds a newborn babe.  Their fragility elicits tenderness.  It is miraculous that they live and breathe at all.  We are amazed that so large a future can be housed in such small, defenseless form.  I imagine God willingly wrapping himself into such frail flesh, the God of the universe reduced to an armful of tender, piteous reliance.  And yet a host of angels attended his birth, proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”  Here, and later in the image of the cross, the two most celebrated stories in all christianity herald glory and peace through utter weakness.

There is a window here into the holy, if only we can peak through it.  The window is clouded with our breaths and yet we see vaguely something unspeakably precious through the glass.  We do not understand why love comes this way, or why we are saved like this.  Love so great stoops so low we cannot with our small hearts fully comprehend it.

God knows fragility.  He knows helplessness.  He knows suffering.  And somewhere in the choice to love us this way, to freely enter into our human condition and bear every wrong, there is great strength.  We can borrow from that loving strength to carry on.  Just before the bible speaks of power made perfect in weakness, it speaks of grace that is enough.  This is the part we can practice.  This is the roadmap we can follow, coming alongside loss, no matter our own depravity and weakness.  We can dispense grace liberally, extravagantly, as it was liberally and extravagantly given to us.

So this Christmas, even amidst weakness, even amidst sadness and loss, may you know love and hope, practiced in grace.  And may you find his strength to carry on.

With love from all of us,

The Ruetschles

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  • Linda

    Thank you, Michelle, for this beautiful reminder that our strength is found in Him, and the pathway to that strength is through weakmess and limitations. I needed to hear this today.

  • Susieobrian

    As usual your words touch deeply. It is similar to that feeling when the Pastor’s sermon seems written just for you. God speaks to our heart with reassuring words from the written to the spoken word. Your way of explaining the hurt, and pain, and weakness makes so much sense. A glimpse into the heart of that Babe and our Father…. I have been grieving the loss of those 20 young children, but cling to the promise that now we know in part, but then we will know in whole.

  • Deb Meske Thompson

    Blessings on you and yours this Christmas season.  Thank you for sharing a perspective of peace and grace.  Life is hard.  God is good.  Deb

  • Kikomnl

    What a beautiful message!! Thank you ruetschles, we love and are so blessed by you. Akiko

  • Baby

    We wish your family a Christ-filled day as we celebrate His birthday. 

  • Peg & Paul Stuckey

    Our love and prayers are with you now and in the coming year. May 2013 be a year of faithful, caring discipleship as we all seek to follow where our Lord leads!

  • Matthew Braun

    Merry Christmas to all of you! We miss you so much. Thanks for the beautiful thoughts. The northwest is wrapping itself in darkness more and more as the solstice approaches. Looking forward to the increase of light and your letter facilitates that meditation. Much love!

  • Lisa Gustafson

    Deeply moved by the beauty of these words and the reminders that lead me to worship.  Merry Christmas Ruetschles.  And thank you for extending grace and love always to our family…and so recently to our kids  <3  - Craig & Lisa Gus