Stitch by stitch

The First Monday in Advent


Months ago, I discovered a cross stitch pattern that struck a chord. It’s a door to a Hobbit hole, with wording from The Hobbit. Excited, I got all of the supplies, and went to work, creating the image in the pattern, stitch by stitch. Today, I’m less than a quarter of the way through the project.

Stitch by stitch is such a slow way to get things done.

There are times when I have felt as if I’m getting absolutely nowhere with the project. I can sit and stitch for two hours, and find that I have completed only a tiny bit of the design. I just can’t see the progress as I go.

But each time I pick it up again, I realize just how far I’ve come. With every single little “x” sewn into the fabric, I see the picture emerge. Stitch by stitch, it becomes clearer as borders are filled out and details are filled in.

Stitch by stitch may be tedious, but it works, it gets there, and it is worth it.

I write this on the First Monday in Advent in a year where everything just seems to be coming together stitch by stitch. Our world and our lives are in such chaos that it’s hard to look around and see the image of what we are supposed to be in it. In my own life, especially when it comes to the children, it often feels as if we are simply treading water, not getting anywhere. We are promised that God is working wonderful things in the world, but it is hard to see.

But maybe, every once in a while, we can start to see a glimmer of the picture that is being created in, around, and through us, stitch by stitch, a glimmer or two of hope breaking through the dimness of the world like rays of sunshine breaking through a grey, rainy day…

In those moments, whatever they are, we can start to see the picture emerging, the kingdom of God shining through, the promise and reality of God’s presence and working in the world. And we can start to see that, even though it may be slow, God is working on it, on us, and on the world.

Stitch by stitch may be tedious…but I believe that if the glimmers that I see are in any way indicative of what God is doing, then not only will it be amazing to watch the image unfold, but the wait is so worth it.