Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent Begins

                Advent is here!  For the past couple of weeks, I have been dreading the coming of Christmas.  Amazingly enough, I have been waiting with joyful expectation for Advent.  Some of you may be asking, what is the difference?  For me, the difference is huge.  Christmas means a lot of work that needs done.  Advent means spending time with God.  Last night I went to an Advent Tea at the church I attend.  I looked forward to a new outlook on advent and hoped for strategies to keep God near my heart during all the work I need to do for Christmas.  A dear friend and I went together.  The theme for the night was a cup full of God’s love.

I have to admit that the reflection given didn’t move me for a season of anticipation.  The message was very nice, but it didn’t give me tips to help me in my journey through Advent this year.  The talk helped me see how God works in our trials through life, but I really was looking for something to guide me through the chaos of Christmas.

During her talk, she showed us four different cups of hers which represent who she is.  So I started thinking of my cups.  Right now I am drinking out of a cup I received from my Grandfather.  He cleaned out his cupboards and offered me things he wanted to give away, so I took the big mug off his hands.  Come to find out, my two beautiful cousins gave it to him for Christmas years prior.  Thus, every day I am blessed as I think of these three relatives I love so much.  My cup is full.  This didn’t bring me any closer to waiting joyfully for the arrival of baby Jesus.

I started thinking of the cups I have for Christmas.  My boss one year gave me a gingerbread mug which reminds me of all the baking I need to do.  I received a set of snowmen mugs one year for a gift exchange game at work.  All these cups are sitting in my craft room waiting to appear on a shelf somewhere in my house to make the area more festive.  They are empty.  I realized I don’t have one cup that represents the coming of our Savior’s birth.  And this tends to be the problem.  My cups are representative of a consumer Christmas not a faith filled Christmas.  All Christmas we run around shopping for gifts that people don’t need, take piles of boxes to ship out, bake tons of goodies, decorate our homes until they are ready to explode, and a million other tasks that deplete our cup of God’s love.  We stress and stress some more. 

What can we do to actively help God keep our cups replenishing?  Over the years, I do daily meditations out of the “Little Blue Book” if I receive one.  This year I received it at the Advent Tea and am very thankful for the six minute devotions that will help fill my cup.  My daughter and I will read an advent story book.  Each day we read about a young girl and her journey towards the event of Jesus’ birth.  I will light my advent wreath.  This all helps while I make all the preparations for the joyful arrival of Christmas.

I am going to add something new this year.  God has placed on my heart to meditate on Mary these next four weeks.  What did Mary do the last days before her precious baby boy arrived?  As I go shopping for gifts, I will think of her going to the marketplace to buy material for Jesus’ diapers and sleepers.  As I clean house, I will think of her going through the nesting phase.  When I start to stress because we know that will happen, I will think of her riding a donkey to Bethlehem.  I am confident my cup is going to be overflowing this year everyday of advent.  I hope your cup does as well.

Blessings to you all.

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