Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Psalms 37:7 (NASB)
There is life in the midst of the waiting. In this time, this period of Advent, we wait for the already / not yet Kingdom of God; that place where we live in the midst of the mess and still reach our hands toward the heavenly places. We exist in the tension of the in between, and we try to make the best of our time.
We make time meaningful by tending to Christmas traditions - sometimes old traditions passed down from one generation to the next, and sometimes new traditions forged in the depths of changing lives and circumstances. As our family has grown, the blending of old and new has come together in a wonderful tapestry of red, green and gold. Christmas colours abound, silver bells ring out, and we all inhale the anticipation and excitement of the big day.
December 25th has taken on new meaning now that we have kids. We all take turns sneaking candies off of freshly decorated gingerbread houses. We make wish lists for Santa and open doors on advent calendars. We are taking advent to new depths this year with readings from Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp.
I had hoped to add a Jesse tree to our daily countdown but life had other plans and I was not able to get myself organized in time. For the first time ever, we have a wee elf on the shelf instead. She adds a new level of excitement to this already exhilarating waiting game.
|Angel the Elf approves of our gingerbread house|
Our traditions are an interesting blend of the secular and the sacred. I believe there's room for all of it. As we learn about the wide range of Christmas traditions, we begin to recognize that the Kingdom story is woven throughout. The generosity of Saint Nicholas ("He was a real person!" my daughter explains to me) is applauded even as we search for significance within the Christmas story itself.
The stars on our tree and in our front window remind us of the star that guided the first worshipers to the Messiah. The red and white striped candy canes do not simply add a delightful crunch to the peppermint bark; their colours also remind us of the blood of the lamb and the grace that washes us white as snow. There are so many layers of meaning to unwrap this Advent.
We wait for the return of the risen King. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but it's the crucified Son of Man that makes my soul leap within me. This life - the One given for all - this gift is the one I cannot help but be humbled by. My heart beats fast while I concurrently attempt to slow the rhythm of these fast paced days.
One thing I'm learning in the midst of Advent is that I can't possibly do all the things. I am learning to lean into that which lifts my spirits, and let go of that which adds stress. It's a process.
I am thankful for the opportunity to wait for the Risen King to return. In the mean time, we honour him with our lives, our love, our hope in the Spirit of giving that exists at Christmas. As faithful servants and honoured guests at God's table, we wait to be poured out like a drink offering, much like Paul (2 Timothy 4:6).
How do you wait? Are you patient in your stillness? Do you "quiet your heart in his presence and pray" as it is written Psalms 37:7a, The Passion Translation? Or are you an inpatient "waiter"? The one who gets up early and shakes all the gifts under the tree, or can't fall asleep to begin with because you're too excited? No matter which way you tend to lean, it is my prayer that this season of Advent would be a positive one for you. I pray you find yourself in the waiting and deepen your relationship with Christ this Christmas season.
Karma writes from the golden house in Northeastern BC. You can connect with her online at redraincoatcreations.com
Thanks for this lovely and thoughtful post. God bless and keep on waiting!ReplyDelete
Hi Karma!Thank you for this message to reflect on. Saint Nicholas was indeed real and generous. As an Orthodox Christian we venerate him as a saint. I love the fact that as Christians we wait but we wait with great anticipation of Who is to come. Until then we live as His people in this dry and weary land. Blessings to you Karma.ReplyDelete
Such a beautiful and tender post, Karma. Thank you for taking me back to those days when our kids were young and there was so much excitement and anticipation and I loved every minute of it. I was a slow learner when it came to realizing that I couldn't do it all.ReplyDelete
I like what you say about that: "I am learning to lean into that which lifts my spirits, and let go of that which adds stress. It's a process." This is good for folks at any age and stage of life. Blessings to you and your family as you wait and then as you enjoy the day with delight and abandon.
Dear Karma, what a beautiful post that brought back sweet memories of waiting with small children. Amen to "leaning into that which lifts my spirits."ReplyDelete
Blessings ~ Wendy Mac
I echo the previous two commenters: beautiful.ReplyDelete