Typically, Rebekah and I get started while we’re cleaning up from our hugeThanks-Gratitude feast. But this year, with 13-month-old David toddling around at full speed, sampling everything he could possible grab and put into his mouth, we decided to wait until after his 10-day visit.
So yesterday evening, with our current favorite Christmas CD rocking in the background (Mercy Me: The Christmas Sessions), we launched the process.
Unlike most people, I’m sharing photographs that show some of the mess and incompleteness while we’re setting up. This is no accident. It will be fun to show off the completed, dazzling, end result, but there is much about the preparation that contributes to the story. No, I’ll take that a step further – often the preparation IS the story.
Clap your hands, all you nations;
shout to God with cries of joy.
For the Lord Most High is awesome,
the great King over all the earth. (Psalm 47)
DEEP CLEAN: It begins with a deep clean. We don’t want to add seasonal bling to distract from the dirt, we want to get rid of all the dust and grime so that we’re bringing our very best to welcome the King.
Then, rather than putting the tree – or trees – where they fit most easily, Rebekah decides the exact best possible locations for the Christmas trees and then has her loving and helpful husband move every piece of furniture in our home to make it happen!
Consequently, six fairly hefty armchairs and a number of tables made several meandering journeys around the house. The entire configuration of our living space has now been changed.
BUT… as I’m thinking about this and writing this morning, I find that both stories have a lot to say about our experience of faith, and how we relate to God in this season of expectation.
- First, the spiritual truth that the real story is as much in the preparation as it is the final product. I don’t know about you, but my faith journey is always a journey. This ever-evolving, messy, stumbling relationship I have with God is beautifully illustrated in the cleaning, the digging, the replacing of lights that don’t shine any more, the re-attaching of legs to camels and heads to wise-guys, the careful placement of the Christ-child at the center of the nativity….
- Then, there’s the beautiful inconvenience of rearranging the entire living area of our home in order to place the Christmas Trees in just the right position. How often do we force the Living Savior and Prince of Peace to occupy an obscure corner of our living, just because we really don’t want to be bothered to rearrange anything else on behalf of the light, grace, peace and promise of the Good News? I’m glad and privileged that Rebekah makes the process so appropriately difficult…
TRANSFORMATION: It may not look like it now, because we’ve just got the ball rolling, but the path our home is on is transformational. In a few days I’ll be posting pictures of light and color and festive bling that will literally shine with promise and life.
But, the very process itself is integral to the transformation. The few things we did yesterday were just as important as the final touches Rebekah will razzmatazz our home with this coming weekend, as if Martha Stewart herself had swooped in with her posse of production peeps and waved some kind of an HGTV wand.
That’s what Advent is all about. It’s about putting ourselves in the place where the Spirit of the Living God will enter us with freshness and light and sparkle.
These are the first days of Advent; this is a week of promise - DEREK