Gratitude Day 372
Thurs., Dec. 5, 2019
Luke 1:38: Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
My name is Dianne. And somehow, I missed the beginning of Advent.
You know, the period of time before Christmas. The time when we are supposed to prepare our hearts and minds and souls for the arrival of the Christ-Child on Christmas Eve. The days that often get so full that we forget to breathe and wonder why and how Christmas became this huge commercial engine that never seems to slow down.
Somehow, the first Sunday of Advent appeared and happened … and I missed it.
Oh, I went to church last Sunday. I watched the first Advent candle be lit. It’s the candle of hope, which says to us that we hope for something outside of ourselves. After worship, people decorated the Christmas tree and set out the nativity scene.
Advent began whether I was prepared or ready or even knew it was happening.
Truthfully, I realized Advent began last Sunday when I sat down Saturday night to prepare music for Sunday worship. I wished to myself that I had taken time the previous week to find a special Advent song for worship. But I didn’t.
Nonetheless, Advent began anyways. With or without me. With or without a special song for worship. With or without my heart being fully prepared to become prepared.
Often, I pull together a little Advent calendar with little ways we can keep ourselves close to God during Advent.
Epic fail this year.
There have been the suggestions floating around on social media of reading a chapter of Luke every day from December 1st until Christmas Eve. With 24 chapters, this allows a person to ready through an entire gospel before Christmas Day.
Nope, I didn’t encourage anyone to do this.
I barely showed up.
Maybe this is a bit how Mary felt when the angel visited her. Completely unprepared. Majorly blindsided. Unsure what this all meant but also ready to accept this wildly challenging but also truly honor that had been laid at her feet.
Mary’s response was only one word: “Yes.”
Yes, I’ll show up and be the mother of the Savior of the world. Yes, I’ll become pregnant before I am legally married, even if this means the potential of being stoned to death. Yes, I’ll carry this baby, even if it means not marrying the man who I am engaged to.
Here’s the little secret: Mary didn’t know it was the beginning of Advent either.
And she still made it to Christmas Eve.
She still journeyed to Bethlehem while nine months pregnant. She still gave birth to a baby in a stable, no less. She didn’t know what to be afraid or scared of. And she did it anyways.
The baby was still born. Joseph still accepted her. An amazing thing happened beyond her control.
Advent can still be amazing. Christmas will be magical whether I get everything crossed off my pre-Christmas to-do list or not. It’s not too late for my heart to be turned towards preparing for the Christ-child.
Just in case you kind-of missed the beginning of Advent? It’s not too late for you either.
For Advent grace, I am grateful.
Holy God – I’m sorry that life got in the way and I’m not really prepared for the beginning of Advent. My heart and soul are still trying to deal with today’s issues rather than finding time to relish in the story from Luke’s Gospel. Please forgive me. Help me accept myself. Give me hope that I will determine just what I need this Advent. Amen.
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