Advent time is upon us…
It is the 27th of November. I am usually packing my bags to leave for India at this time of the year. It is a time spent in the sun meeting a few dear friends, shopping and attending to things that need to be done. Then I head back home before Christmas, having tanked up a few weeks of sunshine to help me through the long winter. This time however, I felt I had to stay put and transit into winter, head on! ‘Winter Time’ as we call it, sets in at the end of October when we turn our clocks and watches one hour backward. Just one hour. But to me that ‘just one hour’ means much, much more. It is the advent of winter!
My evenings are longer, sunset is much, much earlier; I am in the middle of my day and I suddenly look up from my laptop or my book as I sense the pitch, dark silence. But it is only 4 p.m.! I peep out of the window and take a look at the dark world outside, street lights have come on much earlier, I see golden light streaming through my neighbour’s window, neon signs are blinking in a distance and below those street lights I see thick fog hanging in the air. It is ‘Winter Time’ indeed! And so it helps to pack my bags and head to India, where the sun is shining and I feel the sweat trickle down my back as I walk through the narrow lanes shopping for veggies and fruits. But I am going to receive Winter with open arms this time!
My heart seeks Christmas much earlier this year. I have often been critical about the commercial side of Christmas. The streets are festively lit up and the supermarkets have ‘Christmas’ pasted all over their shelves with varied offerings much too early! But I find myself doing just that this year! My home is beginning to look Christmassy already! We have lit up our garden house and the fir tree. We’ve built our own crib with pieces of left over wood and painted it too. The floor has been carpeted with golden dry rose petals mixed with some hay. It looks warm and cozy in there with baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph; the ox and the donkey are in there too, there is fodder lovingly placed on tiny handmade tables for them, but they won’t eat! They seem to be taken in by the recent event in the crib. They are watching over baby Jesus and gazing at Him with adoration!
The wise men from the East have arrived as well! The star in the eastern sky seems to have guided them here to our home much before time; the shepherds are here too with their sheep. They are all here in and around our crib looking on at our baby Jesus with stunned astonishment! I see shoulders drooping and knees bowing down, they are worshiping Him and presenting their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Him.
And even though I cannot see them, I sense a multitude of angels hovering around out crib, singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
I’ve waved my magic wand and all our beautifully carved ceramic creatures and friends have sprung out of their wooden chest! They have shed their ceramic skin and have come to life and they can’t wait to nestle and settle in on the branches of our Christmas tree. That shall be done in time as well. The first advent is just a week away. I am so excited. I have never felt this way about Christmas. There is a desire to open my coffer and start from scratch with my Lord. There is a yearning to get ready to receive Him as King of kings and Lord of Lords! I want to blow my trumpet, I want to make melody in my heart, I want to get fresh wax and keep my candle burning bright for Him. I want to clean up the stable of my heart and make space for those who have none. I want my life, my soul, to be that crib where Jesus dwells and brings forth His peace, and His love and His joy to all around me. There is a lot of scrubbing and cleaning to do in this crib!
I look forward to the coming time of advent, there is a lot to do in me, but with His grace and favour, I shall get ready to greet Him. And then together with my husband and the multitude of angels, we will hover around our crib on Christmas Eve and sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
I wish you a blessed advent time, making melody in your heart unto the King of kings!