Listening for Angels
Recently, I’ve been flying high on Christmas prep. I’m comfortable with “busy.” But now that I’m prepped, I don’t know exactly what to do with myself. Christmas is eight days away and there’s nothing left to do but wait for it. Wait a minute! Isn't that what we call Advent?
I woke up this morning and my mind was immediately flooded with “shoulds.”
The “shoulds” were lined up with little-to-no Christmas cheer amongst them, ready to suggest how best to spend my free day. The top four contenders, in order of appearance, were: exercise, write, organize something, and do laundry. In other words, find a way to be busy again. Find a way to fill up you day.
I keep reminding myself that it’s Advent, and I want to hold onto it. Instead of having the attitude that Christmas is eight days away, I’d rather be thinking that there are only seven more days left of Advent. Seven more days of anticipation.
Seven more days of people holding holiday Starbuck cups.
Seven more days of houses dressed in Christmas lights.
Seven more days to watch cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies guilt free.
Seven more days of having to remember to keep moving the Elf on the Shelf.
In other words, just one more week of people holding onto the Spirit of Christmas.
The Church calendar reminds us that the Christmas season continues well into the middle of January, but our culture will be cleaning up wrapping paper and thinking about new year's resolutions the morning of December 26th.
There are only a few days left in Advent 2022. For some reason, Advent feels more tender this year than I remember it feeling in the past. Just two nights ago, I sat in a church with my granddaughter sitting sleepily in my lap while we listened to her brother's class sing “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear.”
One of the oldies but goodies in the Christmas carol repertoire. My eyes filled with tears and I thought to myself, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” No busy work, no perfect present, could ever come close to being as meaningful as that sweet moment of warmth and love wrapped in the Christmas story. In the few minutes it took a group of fourth graders to sing the carol, I became transfixed by the beauty of the season and what it truly represents for all of us. I felt so filled with the Spirit of Christmas, so filled with the Holy Spirit, that I could scarcely take it in.
The first stanza of the carol ends with these words, “The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sings.”
Thank you, Spirit,
for helping me quiet myself
enough to hear
the angels sing that night.
Be with me
and with all of us
in these final Advent days.
Come among us.
Come as you did at Pentecost.
Come like the wind,
and move our hearts.
Come in the moments of stillness, and calm us.
Come in the season preparations, and fill us with joy.
Come in the light of morning, and fill us with wonder.
Come in the calm of night, and bring us rest and peaceful sleep.
help us soak in the wonder of this season.
Help us hear the angels singing in our lives.
Come O Come, Emmanuel.