As I was pulling boxes of Christmas decorations out of our closet earlier this week, I came across an old doll from my childhood. It was one my grandmother had made, and the memories of my dear grandmother and the happy moments of my youth came flooding back to me. The doll is a cherished treasure, but because it had been tucked away in the closet I had not thought about it for some time.
In our Advent readings and devotional times, we often focus on preparing our hearts and lives for the birth of Jesus. And yet we know the reality: Jesus Christ has already come and is already present- within us and among us! Preparing for Jesus’ birth is always a worthwhile challenge for us. But these devotional times will be more like “cleaning our closets,” about discovering or uncovering the Jesus that is already here, already within us.
Have we tucked Jesus into the back of our ‘heart-closets’ for safekeeping until we need him? How has the clutter of our lives blocked his ever-available presence? Have we perhaps even forgotten he is here or where to find him? Are we hesitant to bring him out into the open, choosing instead to keep him tucked away until he can serve our purposes? Are we keeping him on the back shelf until we think we will be ready for him? Could we be afraid to allow him to be an active presence in our lives? How does the image of the closet reflect your own awareness of the presence of Christ?
When I first saw an image of an Advent wreath made from a Bundt pan, I liked its simplicity and the way it draws our thoughts to hearth and home. This wreath brings to mind loving service and hospitality- the hospitality of working in our homes to prepare for family and friends; the hospitality of working on ourselves to welcome and accept others in our lives; and especially the hospitality of cleaning the clutter in our ‘heart-closets’ to make them more hospitable for Jesus’ presence and guidance in our lives.
The Bundt pan will become a complete Advent wreath over the next four weeks. We will focus on the four themes of Advent- peace, hope, joy and love. Each week, we will add a layer to the wreath that symbolizes the blessing we will prayerfully consider. (The pans will be reusable when we are finished.) I will offer brief devotionals on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with the candle lighting and Mary’s story on Wednesday. (Wednesdays will have longer devotions.) The rest of the week will be time for reflection on our own.
Let’s spend time with one another. Let’s share our experiences, insights, images and encouragement with one another on this blog, or my “Watching for Christ” Facebook page. We can learn and grow from one another. (I appreciate reading other insights!)
Let’s spend time with Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her example has much to teach us about genuinely embracing God’s plan and God’s son, and in turn, embracing everyone, including ourselves.
Let’s spend time within our own hearts to ponder and wonder- as we continue to prepare for this most joyous celebration of Jesus’ birth!
May this Advent season bring us renewed peace, hope, joy and love. May this Advent reveal to us how much Jesus is already present in our lives. May this Advent season help us to uncover, rediscover, embrace, and generously share the love of our ever-present Jesus Christ.
Your friend, Karen