Threads, part 1

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Christmas and Easter come every year. They’re tenacious like that. (At least Christmas has the good manners to arrive at precisely the same time each December. Easter, on the other hand, sneakily slides around from week to week, making it difficult to pin down.)

As the leader of the creative team of our church, these annual holidays are times of both anxiety and excitement. They provide annual opportunities for us to tell the greatest stories of our faith and to push into new creative territory as we challenge the boundaries of our storytelling. But the holidays also carry with them the challenge of continuously needing to find new and captivating ways to tell a story that almost everyone in our western culture has already heard…and many have already dismissed.

In truth, the story is not really mine to tell. The Spirit tells these stories. I have to trust that.

As much work as I may do, as innovative as my methods may be, this story is made real, and it’s made transformational by the quiet whisper of the Spirit in the soul of each person.

Still, God gives me both the opportunity and capacity to partner with his Spirit in telling his story.

I take that very seriously.

Creativity is, for me, very serious business. Fun business, but serious business.

And so, year after year, holiday season after holiday season, I must innovate. But I’ve learned more and more to hear and to trust the voice of God in my creativity.

Lately I’ve been wondering how that comes about, and I’ve found that the process is not easily traced. It’s hard for me to perceive—much less describe—the way the Spirit whispers ideas to my mind and swells them in my heart.  But I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m always looking for threads.

Threads are those things that, well, they thread life together.

Life is a series of fragments, scraps of fabric. Every interaction, every conversation, every experience a different pattern, color, and texture. But through all of it, God is working and speaking. He’s highlighting words and moments.

We hear the same words repeated in a conversation with two friends weeks apart. We learn the same lessons three and four times over in different ways—through a situation, through a sermon, through our devotions. We feel a subtle shift in our hearts.

These are threads. It’s as if someone is taking a needle and thread and drawing them through the fraying edges of all of these scraps of life and suddenly making sense out of them, making them work in harmony, closing the gaps and seaming them together.

So each time another holiday comes rolling/looming on the calendar, I start looking for threads.

More on looking later.