As I write this reflection, I am aware and appreciative of the time of year we are in. This season of Advent, preparing for Christmas, and ensuring various traditions are orchestrated or made anew. This year, I am trying to go slowly with some traditions and experiences to really be mindful of the moment, to create space to sense the Holy Spirit stirring within these moments.
This season as usual, I am excited to go find a Christmas tree with my family. Something I have always loved to do, but here in Idaho the tradition has changed. The blessing and awe to be able to go into a national forest and find a tree is such a gift. I swear our first year here mid-West friends and family were sick of hearing me talk about this new endeavor, but it was full of wonder for us all. I appreciate the unique opportunity to go looking for a special tree within the mountains and bringing nature inside our home, bringing life in creates life whether it be reminiscing with memories as ornaments are placed or sleeping in the living room at least one night with the Christmas tree lights on. This year, I look forward to sharing this adventure with a friend for the first time and sharing the joy and awe with community.
I treasure light in the darkness, so beautifully crafted into places and spaces where we light candles week by week with the Advent wreath in our worship spaces and homes. Particularly, there is something special about being in a sanctuary at night, filled mostly with dim light of flickering candles to help me reflect upon God’s goodness throughout the past year and ask God to walk with me in the days ahead, no matter how dark, to both share God’s light and the light found within me.
Mail becomes a joy this time of year, going to the mailbox each day to gather up the envelopes and sort which ones are Christmas cards. Last night, my twelve-year-old brought in the mail and he sorted the cards for me … tossing the bills and junk mail on the counter. I felt seen, he gets me and how I love seeing photos of treasured friends and family all over the country this time of year. I enjoy making our own photo holiday card and seeing the growth in each family member through the past twelve months. And, come New Years, I love cutting out various pictures from those we received to go on a bulletin board we use to pray with in the coming year.
This season can be a wonderful time to reflect on God’s grace and presence in the special and everyday moments of life, we just need to be mindful and aware. My prayer for each of you and myself, is to not simply rush from one thing to another, but to pause, notice, and appreciate the moments. Let your life, traditions, and practices speak as Isaiah 55:3 calls forth “incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.”