I’m about to write here about some of the things I plan to write about in our annual Fenelon Clan Christmas Letter. Like so many folks, I like to include in our Christmas greeting news about what the Clan’s been up to in the past twelve months. But I’d really like you to know this part.
As I’ve been mulling over what to put in the letter, the same phrase keeps coming to my mind:
The Year of God’s Other Plans
That’s really 2016 (at least so far) in a nutshell. All year long, it seems, God has spun us around, toppled us over on our heads, and sent us in unexpected directions. Some of it has been very, very difficult. Most of it has been glorious.
In every possible way this year, God has shown us that he had “other plans” for us.
We’d been planning to make our cars last another year or so. God planned that they should both die at cone, shoving us into a harried, desperate car hunt to replace them. In the end, it all turned out quite well. But God had us sweating for a while there.
Our daughter got married, with just a five-month engagement. We’d been planning on having her to ourselves a bit longer. But God planned for her to meet a most wonderful, loving man and for them together to have a beautiful, blessed wedding. They’d each waited a very long time for God to send them the right spouse, and so I’m sure the five months felt like and eternity to them. For my husband and I, it was but a moment. Soon they’ll be moving out-of-state. Another of God’s other plans.
I planned to simply monitor the cervical spine condition with which I was diagnosed. God planned that surgery would become imminent. I planned to count on the surgeon’s prognosis that further damage could be stopped, but damage sustained would remain. God planned that I’d come through the surgery with flying colors and regain far more than seemed medically possible. Then God planned that I’d have many, many generous and loving people accompany me with prayerful and practical help.
My husband and I had planned a quiet, steady year. God planned that our 98-year-old house need some serious work that probably will cost big bucks. In the process, we’ve come to be more appreciative of the heritage of our house and our small-town community.
I’d planned for another book to work on. God planned that I’d have not just one, not just two, but three books in the hopper, that I’d become a regular blogger at National Catholic Register that The Catholic Conspiracy would pick up my personal blog, and that I’d have a full speaking schedule. Apparently God’s other plans have included keeping me extremely busy!
I could go on and on about all the other plans God has had in store for my family and me, but I think it would get tedious.
The plans themselves aren’t all that important.
What’s vitally important is that God “othered” our plans, so to speak. All the topsy-turvy, switch-a-roo, not-this-way-but-that-way changing of our plans were signs of God’s love for us. Every single flipped-over plan was meant to show us that God really does know better, even when we think we’re oh-so smart.
In the midst of the difficult as well as the joyfully surprising other plans, I heard clearly God’s voice:
Ssshhh. Be still. I am here.
That will happen again on Christmas Eve. As in centuries past, the Christian world will remember and celebrate the birth of the King. The Babe will be born once again in the stable of our hearts. He will bring us peace, hope, and joy.
Christ’s birth is the ultimate “other plan.”
When he comes, he’ll tell us:
Ssshhh. Be still. I am here.