Wednesday, December 23, 2009


December 23...we're in the "home stretch," as it were, of Advent. Shopping is being finished, gifts are being wrapped and stashed away, kitchens are working overtime, and it's all a whirl of preparation for the celebration of Christmas. There's no shortage of expectation at our house, either. With five children, a busy church organist-husband, and my protruding middle, the sense of anticipation is extraordinary. What perhaps is lacking is quiet and reflection. Not that it's not understandable, but in this early morning quiet before dawn, I am grateful for a bit of peace and a moment to think before the day runs away with me.

It's easy, in the hubbub, to lose sight of why we're doing all of this. But the expectation is not supposed to be for opening presents, visiting family, meals and sweets, and all swept away on the 26th. It is to reflect and remember that without feast and fanfare, without trees and paper and ribbons, Eternity breached time. Wrapped in the complete dependency of a newborn infant, redemption and hope for a fallen world lay among common farm animals in the arms of a teenager. I find the wonder of that reality not in the shopping, baking, and wrapping that await me this day, but in the aching of my arms to hold my own little one. I've held my other five newborns in their first moments, and been swept away by the immense promise that wakes in their wide eyes as they gaze at me. I've been humbled and overwhelmed by the enormity of what lies there. The anticipation of the months before fades away in the anticipation of what is ahead. And there is the true challenge of Christmas.

In every new Advent, we are called to anticipate and embrace a new Incarnation. We are summoned again to the manger to behold with fresh eyes the simple, humble beauty of a newborn child and be drawn into the vastness of grace that is our salvation. Advent is to waken our longing, so that we can gaze at Christ with wonder, and be reminded to guard and cherish His presence in our lives just as we would a tiny child. My prayer is that January 25 will not find me cold - distanced from the warmth of this Christmas celebration, but still gazing into the eyes of my Redeemer, basking in the wonder of his Love and the gift of His presence in my life, and grateful that He chose to come to us so that we could come to Him.

O holy Child of Bethlehem!
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!


Marva said...

I completely agree and that was beautifully written. Thanks for reminding of all of the reason of this magical season.

blessings and hugs!

Anonymous said...

There will be time enough to sleep later. Enjoy the new baby.