November 29, 2009
readying my heart
It is no secret that I love Advent. I really love Advent. It helps me to let Christmas sink into my soul and to really celebrate the season, instead of rushing on through... checking off a million items on that dreaded to-do list... somehow missing what Christmas is all about in a flurry of check marks.
Last weekend our Sunday School took a field trip to a little farm... to play with the animals, to prepare for our Christmas program, to pose for pictures. My job was to take those pictures... and I took tons of them. I was kneeling in the dirt, I was standing on an unsteady rough stool, I was in the midst of the shepherds and animals at the manger. Taking picture after picture. I was hoping to get some great shots... really great ones. The sun was shining and the air was beautiful... and the whole morning exhausted me!
Later... going through the pictures, the reality of where I was struck me... and the tears started. In the moment, I was running and doing my job, but never once did I stop and revel in where I was. At the manger. In the midst of the shepherds and the animals. Sitting in the straw marvelling at the arrival of a newborn king. In the company of angels.
To look at the pictures... you would not guess that I was not in the moment. I think I am quite accomplished at that... putting on a good face and stumbling through, with no one the wiser. But it is not how I really want to live. I want to be present in the midst of it all. I don't want to miss a thing... and most certainly not the arrival of the King.
Today we light the first candle of Advent... and I am planning to sit down as a family and read a bit. And share our love for Christmas. The reason for Christmas. Of course, the best laid plans don't always fall into place... but if I don't plan for it I know that there is no chance of this time being set aside. So I plan... and I pray... and I sit my heart down in the straw and wait... for the best gift Christmas brings.