The earliest photographs of me at Christmas are of my cousin Kelli and I. Kelli was born two months before me and we were together a year later for Christmas, and in fact we were together for the next several Christmases after that. I have pictures of us in matching robes placing our baby dolls in tiny bassinets with the Christmas tree in the background.

This weekend Mark and I traveled to the tiny town in Nevada where my cousin lives to be part of a surprise party for her 50th Birthday.

As I thought about her gift I knew one part of the gift would have to include a photograph of us as little girls.

Kelli was my first friend, my earliest playmate. She is the only cousin I have a lasting relationship with and our stories our intertwined from the beginning of my life.

Today marks the second sunday of Advent. The passages typically read are about John the Baptist who came before Jesus, a couple of months before…his cousin.

Sometimes I forget that Jesus was fully human. I forget that he lived as a child before He became the man I imagine when I think about the Jesus who died for me.

I wonder if Jesus and John were friends, if they played together like my cousin and I did. Did they laugh and have secrets together.

I think they did.

I gave my cousin that photograph of us as little girls. As she opened it she said, “Oh, I know what this is…” her eyes teared up and she reached over to hug me.

We lost touch with one another for a number of years, and about a decade ago we reconnected and tonight as we shared that hug and the tears I soaked up the moment and being present in it.

This week I am holding the goodness of God in the midst of precious relationships. I am holding the humanity of Jesus, his life as a child and the significance of that for him and for me. I am particularly aware that just as he had a cousin a couple of months older than he so do I…and it is not just a coincidence that this year, I am here in Nevada the second weekend of Advent with my cousin celebrating her life.

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There are no coincidences when you choose to live watching and wondering for where God will show Himself to you, everything matters in that space.

Everything.

This year I am purposing to stay watchful and wondering, and everything is mattering and I am loving that.


DSC_0512Tracy Johnson is a lover of stories and a reluctant dreamer, living by faith that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick but when dreams come true there is a life and joy” (Pro. 13:12).  Married for 27 years, she is mother to five kids.  After nearly a half century of life, she’s feeling like she may know who she is.  Founder of Seized by Hope Ministries, she writes here.

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