Even for the most sturdy of us, the holidays can be a trying time. So much work. So much expectation.
I was thinking of this on Sunday as I sat in church making a mental list of all I still needed to get done. How could it be that the long holiday weekend was over? Mere minutes had passed since I was sitting on the edge of Thanksgiving, worried there weren’t enough cranberries. Now here I was, the very best holiday prep time gone—and still there was no tree. No wreath on the door. No organized shopping list.
Shoot, there weren’t even groceries for dinner.
About that time we came to the Hanging of the Greens section of our first Sunday in Advent worship service. Dr. Mike opened with a beautiful message on the season of Advent as a time of preparation—of anticipating the coming of the Christ child. Of course, I thought. That is what I am doing. All this decorating and shopping and planning. All this fretting! I am preparing.
And then he said: A time for preparing our hearts and spirits.
That surely didn’t sound the way my Christmas chaos feels.
Tonight I’ve been sitting here looking at our beautiful, now fully decorated 8-foot tree and thinking about Advent. Since I got home from work, I have accomplished exactly nothing on my must-do Christmas list. Instead, I’ve been pondering: What would it be like to turn inward this holiday season? Could I release those “expectations” and prepare my heart for something wonderful? Something unexpected?
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
My prayer is that this Advent season I find a less hectic way to spend these days, in a space between me, and God. So that when the light comes to the world on Christmas day, it won’t matter so much if the wrappings are perfect. My heart will be ready.
30 Days of Joy