December. Another month. Advent. The first day has passed. Why is it that our North American culture (and possibly others) is in such a hurry at this time of year? Retail stores swing into high gear to ensure that shoppers rush about purchasing this or that "must have" item. All over Blogdom there's a mad hurry to decorate for Christmas and show it all off on the first day of December.
I look at all of the empty numbers on my grown-up girl Advent calendar. Days to fill until Christmas Day. How can I savor each one? Where is my focus? I love the baking, the decorating, the wrapping of gifts and the anticipation. But behind all of that, I want a quiet heart, a heart that's focused on the meaning of Advent, the coming of the Christ Child into this dark world.
Waiting. An unpleasant way to spend time. Impatience sets in as we wait in line ups at the post office, the cash registers, the traffic lights. With aching hearts we wait for deep grief to subside, or watch the slow deterioration of a loved one's health. Some wait with dread for there will be emptiness and the missing face of someone beloved. We all wait for something.
As I wait, I long for healing and wholeness. Not only for myself but for all those who hurt, for this broken world. I wait in hope that the promises given at the coming of the Christ Child - the promises of hope, joy, peace and love - will be evidenced in my life and extended to others. Advent is for those who long for something beyond the hurry.
There's no question that I have busy days ahead. Somehow, by God's grace, I will measure my pace. What gets done, gets done. I must decide what is most important. What are my expectations? Are they realistic? How will I ensure they are met?
Here are a few of my hopes for this season:
Relaxed time with family. A special outing with two little Misses. Walks with my husband. A visit with my parents and siblings. A quiet heart. Helping to meet others' needs in a tangible way. Joy.
O come, O come Immanuel.