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.
I’ve alluded to the fact that Advent is almost here. Where I live, signs of Christmas are beginning to pop up all over the place. I came out of my house for choir practice this evening and noticed that some of my neighbors have put up their Christmas lights. We have begun practicing Advent anthems at choir. And there are signs on all of the streets surrounding my house warning that the streets will be closed this Saturday for the Santa Claus parade.
I always have a struggle at this time of year. Truth be told, I am sorely tempted this weekend to put up both of my Christmas trees, my nativity set and my lights and decorations on the front porch. I want to rush into it.
I have a problem with wanting to rush things before their time. I have a problem with, a lack of, patience.
But I am trying to take my time this year. I WILL put up my nativity set this weekend, but I will hold off on the trees and lights until the end of the month. Because it isn’t time yet. Advent is a season of anticipation. To anticipate you have to hold off a bit. You have to have patience. You can’t just rush to the good stuff, you’ll miss the anticipation entirely.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) says:
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
I am trying to let things be beautiful in their own time. Instead of rushing them along. I love the thought that there is eternity in our hearts, but we still can’t see all of what God is doing. Is t that the truth about humanity? We have some sense of longing for – and even some understanding of – the things of God. But we can never fully understand them.
In the end, God remains a mystery. And for once, that is not causing me concern or anxiety. Instead it seems inordinately beautiful.
In December, in its time, I will begin my second annual Advent Blog. Until then, may we all find rest in the One who is the most beautiful mystery.