Sometimes it feels like this time of Advent is a bit like making Jello (which I do seldom, truth be told).
There is an end vision of what will be but really, who knows how the stuff will interact together? Will it all gel?
I think about the ingredients that make for a fine bit of gelatinous goodness for me.
Dressing my house matters. Christmas tree lights and crèche sets and the Christmas Village and the Advent calendar with the half-dog-eaten stuffed bear that moves around and ceramic angels and treasures unpacked year after year.
Planning feasts matters. We’ll host both moms and four of six kids on Christmas Eve so planning the turkey dinner between worship services and imagining the Swedish Pancakes and leftovers on Christmas Day makes for happiness.
Choosing gift treats matters. I love giving presents. It may be a sickness. It’s joy to hold beloveds in my thoughts and imagine what might delight them.
Planning worship matters. Christmas Eve services resonate with power and love. At the 4:00 family-friendly service we romp. With kids jazzed and adorned in Christmas finery and parents delighted to have made it to the finish line, there is a zing of energy that connects us all to joy. At the 11:00 service, the air seems to shimmer with hope and the vision of good will for all people. The notion of peace on earth feels heart-possible.
Love matters. When the kids are in town they go to Cooper’s early service (married to a UM pastor, I am) and my late service. Truly, preacher’s kids are marvels. There is this heart valentine that blubbers me every year: Cooper’s late service is at 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve. Richfield’s is at 11:00 PM. Following his service Cooper motors over to Richfield UMC and slides into the pew next to the kids in order to be present for worship. Every year my heart leaps as I see him at the back of the sanctuary. Love matters.
Savor matters. Finding time to be still and open to the birth of wonder matters greatly. At such times I remember that life is not an endurance contest but rather is invitation to miracle. Day by day, the opportunity to allow love to grow presents itself. Day by day, the gift is given.
So, what makes for wonder Jello in your Advent season of preparation? How will you honor the desires of your heart and the finitude of your ability to do it all? What are the spaces you make for savor to happen?
I pray delight for us all in this season of preparation.