This morning I’ve got my feet up on my desk, my wireless keyboard in my lap. A cup of fair trade organic decaf Peru Panachi sits nearby, freshly brewed and French-pressed. I am taking time to consider Advent. It isn’t that I have time, or that I make time… I haven’t the surplus time today or this week, and I cannot manufacture time. I cannot even manage time — it marches on relentlessly no matter what I may try to do about it. But I can choose what to do with my time, moment-by-moment. And this morning it seems that a bit of reflective time would be wise stewardship of the time — the gift of time that I’ve been allotted today. Yesterday I began reading God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas, and I anticipate a few pages each day through the rest of the season before me, and up to Epiphany. Epiphany — it seems so far off, yet it isn’t. Time will pass and it will be here before I know it. The last year has passed on as well, thanks be to God.
And so I force upon myself a pause. This will take effort today and all through Advent, but it is right and good that it should be done. This year we made our own advent candles. This past spring we were at our local beekeepers’ co-op to purchase a quantity of honey, and discovered that they were clearing out sheets of coloured beeswax. They also sold us the candle wicking, and we put it all away until last week. It was relatively easy, and the kids quite enjoyed it. All we added was a hairdryer to warm the wax as we rolled it. The bottoms needed a bit of “modification” to fit into our candle holders, but we like the end result, pictured above. We don’t actually have a “proper” Advent wreath, so we arrange candles in this fashion on “The Peace Table”, an invention of my wife’s. The word “Peace” is always spelled out on the table, along with whatever seasonal decor may be appropriate. (It disturbs the peace if we are caught piling “junk” on the table — the Advent books in the photo are likely included in the sweeping definition, but I’m using them…)
In any event, I’m enjoying the beginning of Advent, and hoping to maintain the discipline of slowing down. The reflective books are helpful. The first two entries in God with Us are by Richard John Neuhaus, and already the reflections are rich. A few quotations:
“The great question is not whether we have found God but whether we have found ourselves being found by God.”
“‘Lord, I am not worthy.’ With these words, we make room in our hearts for the gift. …’Lord, I am not worthy.’ With these words, the gift is given to receive the gift of giving. With these words, faith gives permission for Christ to be in our lives Emmanuel, God with us.”
“Fill, we pray you, our every moment with his threefold advent. As then he came and now he comes and will one day come again, awaken us to the then and now and one day of his presence in this present moment.”
Therefore Peace be upon you, “until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time–God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.” [*]