November 10th, 2023 | Rev. Rachel Williams
“The Lord is coming, always coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent; life is recognizing the coming of the Lord.” – Henri Nouwen
I opened the garage door on November 1st and just stared at it- the big box in the corner holding our precious, beautiful faux Christmas tree. I stood there looking at it, thinking to myself, “Do we just put it up early to add a little bit of familiarity to a house and a place that is so new?” Alas, I kept the tree in the box, shut the door, and left the decorating for another day.
Now, if you are a Christmas-as-soon-as-Halloween-is-done person, you do your thing. I think we can all use more joy in our lives, and if you find that in preparing for the holidays now, deck those halls! But I grew up in a household where my mom was something of an Advent/Christmas purist. Christmas decorations went up no earlier than the day after Thanksgiving. Christmas music did not stop in our house until January 6th, with the arrival of Epiphany. And the Magi did not even make an appearance in our nativity scene until Epiphany, which meant that the nativity usually stayed out for an extra week in January. Many of those rituals have stuck with me because I love the order of the seasons.
Recently, though, I saw a post from a pastor friend of mine here in Florida who said that he was starting an early Advent study with his church. His argument was that if the world is moving into Christmas earlier and earlier, we find ourselves out of sync between the preparation that takes place in our homes, our hearts and our churches.
So, I wonder, even as we look to the start of Advent on December 3rd, what can we be doing to prepare ourselves for the coming Christ child? If you already have Christmas up in your house, what rituals will draw you into the peace, hope, love, and joy of the coming season?
I have yet to put up the tree in our house, but my antsy self is looking at my Fridays off thinking, “This seems like a great day to deck the halls.”
We shall see. Nevertheless, may all that we do between now and December 24th look toward the coming of the Lord.
With Grace and Peace,