Have you ever heard the saying, “The devil is in the details”? Well, I personally can’t stand that saying. It immediately creates an image in my head of Ebenezer Scrooge hovering over Bob Cratchit making sure poor Bob is counting every bit of money Scrooge has. It’s like the details are about keeping tabs on something and that never feels good to me. I guess this is the time of year where attention to detail does amp up though. We really do keep tabs. We’re making the lists and we’re checking them twice. There are parties to attend and presents to buy. And the decorations to put up and maybe more decorations to put up after the neighbors’ put up theirs. I mean…the devil is in the details, right? UGH. What if we changed that saying a little bit? What if we said, “Jesus is in the details”? How would those details change? Would the lists of presents be longer? Or would the list of givings be longer? Would we invest more time and money on decorations after seeing our neighbors’ display of lights? Or would we just invest more times with the neighbors? Would the details even be material anymore?
I don’t want to sound as though I am criticizing people who find joy in the physical preparation of the holidays. I know so many people who can express what’s in their hearts by decorating. It’s a source of creativity and others are usually blessed by the sheer environmental aesthetics these people are able to create. What I am suggesting is that we are so easily distracted by the details that are all around us this time of the year that we lose sight of the details that have been imbedded inside of us.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:15 – 20)
The details inside of us are the ones that show us we are not alone. That even though we anticipate what is being prepared for us in another life, Heaven is still not far away. We are not orphans. Truth lives inside of us and we live inside the truth of God’s grace and love. And what does that mean? It means that Jesus didn’t leave us empty handed when he departed. The Holy Spirit was left with us and that is no small gift. This gift is far reaching that connects the physical to the spiritual, one person to another and people to God.
Recently I was asked to offer a meditation/yoga experience to the moms group at church. Their theme was to simplify daily living to support their well-being as mothers. So what I ended up having them do is breathe together while they were sitting on the floor back-to-back. They had to move together a little bit as well but they couldn’t see each other or talk about it. They had to find a way to agree on the exchange of weight and direction from a place of connection, breath and knowing. Does that sound hippy dippy? Probably, but one of the most interesting observations that was shared by one of the moms was that she was “in awe”. She was in awe by the fact that what was divinely residing in her was also divinely residing in her partner. She shared that she could feel the connection between her and her partner because she could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in both of them. It was beautiful. It was specific. It was Jesus in the details.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)
Maybe this holiday season we replace some budgeted holiday shopping time and instead replace it with time spent with those we are shopping for. Or maybe instead of looking for the perfect gift we try to find the perfect words to express how important and loved someone is. Maybe budget more time sitting on the floor with our kids. Or eat a meal with an elderly friend who may not have many opportunities to eat with others. Or before you run into the store, take a moment to text a friend and tell her how much you appreciate her friendship. Or sit across from your partner and make eye contact for a prolonged period of time without saying a word. Just see that person. You will not regret it. And while Jesus is preparing that place for us in the next phase, don’t miss this phase. Remember those small moments in life are the real details. Make them specific. Make them many. Jesus is in the details.
Tori Conicello-Emery is a long-time member of Hope Community Church. She loves to engage in community, spiritual discussions, faith practices and is a dedicated member of the worship team at Hope.