There are exactly 8 unopened Advent gift bags, with accompanying ornaments hanging across the window. There are 8 stories from theÂ heraldedÂ Jesse tree that are still unknown. There are two days until Christmas. Where did the time go?
Advent… it is the time of waiting.
The time of waiting. When we are searching for something else — something to keep us busy in those days before Christmas, while we long for Christmas to come.
We don’t really long for Christmas to come. We jump from one gathering to the next. From one store to the next, from one cookie recipe to the next one. Our minds jump around trying to figure out that perfect gift for someone. Our minds do acrobats trying to figure out how in the world we will get it all done. We can wrap this then, and then we will do that… and then, there are the Christmas specials you don’t want to miss. And just at the worst possible moment, you realize you are OUT OF TAPE!
We are in need of nothing to carry us through theÂ anticipationÂ of Christmas.
What was once so pretty and joyous now looms above my head and reminds me of what I have not done and what I have missed.
Who ever created an Advent calendar in the first place? What bored human in the history of humanity ever found a need for them?
There are no long stretches ofÂ emptinessÂ that the Jesse tree story could have filled — not even for a second have I had a moment that needed filling. Rather, waves of panic and anxiety have consumed me. Especially the night I came out out of aÂ luxuriousnessÂ shower, only to realize that the guest would be arriving in exactly 45 minutes, and the sticky mess on the kitchen floor still had to be mopped.
I have it all planned out in my mind. When I will shop. What cookies I will make. What candy I will make. What crafts we will do. Where we will go. But they are merely wishes. Â These ideals cannot hold up to reality.
How in the world did I get so far behind?
I try to cut things out — but when you are mom, you are Christmas to so many other people. Your choice to shave things, affects so many. Lesson learned: do not even think for a second that you will get away with not making the Pecan Rolls. The dough is now mixed, and quietly doing its cold rise.
And I still have not made those coveted Lemon cookies that FUN SIZE craves. I don’t want to be the one Â disappointingÂ him.
I have read the Jesse Tree advent stories… some of them. In the morning.., when it’s quiet, and my heart doesn’t remember that it needs to start racing to get through the day. There were a few times, when the words, heard many times before, cut through those wires across my heart and gripped me, and took me to a new place where I had not intended to travel that day. The wood from the ark… the wood on the cross. Both symbols of grace. A place of awe. Later that night, I passed on what I learned to the boys. I have no clue if anything from my heart made it out of my mouth and into their hearts. I can only wonder… and repeat what I said. Again, and again. Do you understand? He was here since the beginning of time… the light of the world… and he came to earth… as a baby.Â I can’t quite wrap my head around it myself… but I’m trying to teach them?!
On Christmas, the creator of the universe comes to earth. As a baby. I’ve heard it so many, many times. This is not new news. Slowly, a question starts to enter my mind. Why would the creator of the universe put himself at the mercy of sinful humans, and arrive as a helpless baby? Why did he intervene in history so that the place he would be born is in the dirtiest of places on earth? He could have arranged anything — he didn’t have to come as a baby. Nor, in a manager. But this is how it all unfolded.
I cannot wrap my head around these facts. Advent misses me again this year.
All I can do this advent is to ponder these questions in my heart, as I stand under the advent calendar that even I couldn’t finish. The deadlines I have missed.
Ah Susie. How so many of us must relate to this post. I think back to Christmas in the UK when the BA was little and the crafts and cooking and special sparkly ideas I churned out. And I seem to remember it was joyous, and fun! But then I remember the Christmas Eve that I sat up until 3am finishing the Princess Jasmine costume I made her and realise that I was disorganised, even then….