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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Celebrate Advent: Make room for distance. (Matthew 2:1-12)

jenmichel@me.com

Faith always feels like following a distant star. And I'd rather have a road map.

Our family signed up for star-following when we decided to come to Toronto. Two to five years was the best guess as to how long we'd be here.

It had all felt so adventurous when we'd set out. We'd live in the city and send our kids to a French school. We'd keep our house in Chicago and visit often.

Two to five years, and we'd have had our taste of the urban. The kids would be bilingual.

But you soon start to realize that the span between two and five years is big. And the sheer impermanence of living in it can drive you mad.

In two years, our oldest will be in 7th grade, our youngest just starting 1st. In five years, we'll have a high schooler.

Two years is hardly time to plant your feet. In five years you've grown some roots.

How many times can Ryan and I have the conversation, "Are we staying?"

And of course there aren't answers for that question. It's nothing we can yet decide, if ultimately, we'll even be given the choice to decide.

I reassure our friends and family back in the States that we miss them.

I enthuse to friends here about all we've come to love in Toronto.

Both are true.

Both are maddening.

But I suppose this is exactly how faith must feel.

On the one hand, there are sky certainties to follow. We know some things to be true, and that's why we set out.

Beginnings always feel adventurous. But the real test is never setting out. What matters is continuing on when the faith stars keep up their perpetual movement, and we're wishing they'd just slow down. We want road maps and destinations. We want to calculate miles and arrival times.

And all we get are stars. Beautiful, luminous, distant stars, leading us right to Him.