So it begins…

The weekend got away from me. There was so much to do and so little time, it seemed. And in the midst of it all, I never did find a quiet moment during which I could put out my nativity set. That quiet moment finally arrived tonite.

After all the hustle and bustle of the day was over, after I’d had my nightly phone call with my Mom, after the puppy had finally been fed, there was time. No plans, no emails that had to be sent, no chores that had to be done. Just time.

So I loaded my “Everything Christmas” playlist onto my iPhone and set it into its speakers. And as some of my favorite Christmas music began to play, began to unpack my set from its boxes. This is a favorite ritual of mine.

I first saw my nativity set in a store window in the Pickering Town Centre mall, when my parents and I lived in that city. It stopped me dead in my tracks and my Father (with whom I was running errands) had to come back to get me. And we spent a few minutes together, still in the midst of the bustling mall, marveling at how these figures told the story with beauty and simplicity. And how we could still be struck silent by the story these figures told.

A few Christmases later, my Mom and Dad bought me the first pieces in my set. For a couple of Christmases they added to it, until the whole set was mine. Every time I take it out of its boxes I am reminded of the reason for this season. And I am reminded of the faithfulness of my parents, who taught me the story of God’s saving love coming to earth in the form of a helpless baby.

This is the beginning of my Advent season. This is the beginning of all the preparations, all the decorating, all the little steps that will lead to the celebration of Christmas 2012. For me, in this quiet, worship-ful moment, it has begun very well.

The whole set (and stockings for me, Koski and Spot).
The centre piece.
The Wise Men.
A shepherd and some animals.

An unexpected post…

I had planned on blogging about our Wednesday night study at St. A’s tonight. But then I got home and called my Mom…she asked if I’d gotten an email from my Dad. After a bit of conversation it became clear that he had sent it to an old email address. Mom and I kept talking while Dad headed off to the computer…

So when I got off the phone, I received an email from my Dad in which he told me that he had preached on Galatians 6:9 last Sunday, which says: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)

He told his congregation about some expensive sunglasses that I bought at the Catalyst conference in October. Built into the cost of the sunglasses was the cost of one person receiving their sight (through surgery, other medical treatment or by receiving prescription glasses) in the third world. He told his congregation that my generosity amazes him and sometimes makes him ashamed because (in his eyes), I do not become weary in doing good. And he wrote to me that he needs to “pay a lot for for a pair sunglasses so a child gets her sight through surgery.”

The story becomes a little more complicated at this point, because TOMS (the company through which I got the sunglasses and helped someone receive sight) does not sell their eyewear in Canada. And their American site does not ship to Canada. I am working on the details of how to help my father do this good work which will benefit some unknown, but in-need, person on the other side of the world.

What I really want to talk about, though, is how as I wrote a teary email response to my Dad it became clear to me that any generosity I have is really due to the relationship I have with Jesus Christ. It is His work in my life that creates in me generosity and a love for others (known or unknown). And it it is because my parents love Jesus deeply that they did everything they could to encourage faith in me.

So as highly as my father thinks of me (and trust me, I know how big a blessing that is), I am indebted to him and all the ways that he has taught me. I guess you could call my Dad and I a mutual admiration society.