Thanksgiving Day has come and gone. A day we pause to offer thanks for our many blessings and to acknowledge God’s presence in our lives. Isn’t it funny how we talk about pausing when, for most of us, this Thanksgiving Day meal is one of the most labor intensive. Weeks of preparation go into this meal. We search for all the traditional foods, all the right ingredients, all the secret family recipes. We wash the china and polish the silver. Housing arrangements are made for visiting family and friends. And the timing of everything is like a spiritual discipline. We are filled with anticipation and expectancy; the smell of roasting turkey, the tangy sweetness of cranberry relish and mulled cider, the nibbling of nuts and the delight of desserts. We draw on the experiences of the past to inform and elevate our present experience. We know what we are preparing for when we prepare for Thanksgiving Day.
Advent is now here. This, too, is a time of preparation filled with great anticipation and expectancy. But do we know what we are preparing for? ‘Consumer Christmas’ is only 24 days away but can we stop long enough to offer reverent pause at the Mystery and Wonder of Christ’s Birth? Advent invites us to sit in awe at the very In-Breaking of God into this earthly realm. If we open our hearts and our minds we can experience this Presence.
Tonight I sit in my chair. The only lights on are glowing softly from our four-foot artificial tree, and my computer screen. I know Carvers Pond is out there through the window but I can’t see it nor can I see the houses along the far shore or the trees that are swaying and bending in the escalating wind. I can, however, see lights. Street lights, house lights, car lights and even a few stars, lights in the darkness. Lights that tell me I am not alone, lights that draw my vision and thoughts towards their unknown location. Who’s house is that light shining in? Where is that person driving to so very late? Is someone looking towards my house and asking the same questions? What are we doing here anyway? We’re all preparing for something – work, a conversation, a homecoming, a journey, a meal, a message, a sense of belonging, a feeling of peace.
God is here – in the Advent of our lives – God is here. Be awake to the Presence. Stand in awe and … wow, look at that ‘falling star’… Star of Wonder.