I love Advent.
And, getting ready for Christmas.
I love the decorations and the music and the list making and the gift giving.
Some of my love for this time of year revolves around memories and tradition.
Creches pulled out of boxes and set in their assigned places.
Singing Silent Night while holding a flickering candle…one among all the others.
Electric candles placed in each window of our house.
But deeper than the trees and the gifts and the carols and the candles, I hold onto the hope and promise that what Advent points towards and what Christmas proclaims is true. Not that the narratives from the Bible which we read and reread are literally true, but that the truth they turn us towards is true. That that which we know and name as God is somehow intertwined with this crazy, messed up life and world which is mine and ours. That the Holy is wrapped up in my very ordinary, sometimes broken, often confused life.
Most of the time I can’t, but I do hope it is true.
That the best I can imagine…
The best that is more than I can imagine…
The more that is beyond my knowing…
Is somehow a part of my life just as it is.
In this moment.
And, in the next.
And, in the moment after that.
And, the one after that.
On and on and on.
So, in these Advent days which lead to Christmas, I will listen to the carols and hum along.
And sometimes even dare to sing out loud.
I will recall and retell the story so I hear it one more time.
Mary. Joseph. Angels. Shepherds. Wandering Magi.
I will unpack the creches.
Felt on 2x4s made and sent to me by friends.
The pottery one my parents bought me.
The carved one from Bethlehem.
The knitted on made by the older woman who loved to wear beautiful hats to worship.
Allowing them to remind me of the story.
But also, that the story is not my story, but our story.
Your story and my story and their story, too.
And, I will light the candles allowing them to push back the darkness just a bit.
And maybe burn their way somehow deeper into my heart and mind and soul.