This morning my husband mentioned to me that it was really starting to feel like Christmas for him. A combination of the plans and preparations we were talking about, and the fact that the calendar itself is steadily moving toward ‘24’. It may sound funny, but even as someone who works in a church, the fact that Christmas Eve is just a week away feels a bit of a shock. We have been lighting candles, planning special services, and we’ve enjoyed the magnificent Festival of Carols by our Chancel Choir, but it still doesn’t seem like Christmas should be so close. To me, it feels rushed.
On our kitchen table at home we have a simple Advent wreath. Four small votives with candles (3 blue and 1 pink) circled round a small piece of greenery, with a larger glass vase and white candle sitting in the middle. When we sit down for dinner I light the candles for the week and repeat again for my 4-year-old son what each of the candles represents. This week we’re up to three: Hope, Peace, and Joy. My son loves to look at the candles (and blow them out!), and usually eagerly asks when we get to light the next one. And I get that. It’s exciting to move toward Christmas. It’s exciting to see the light grow. It’s exciting to make plans and preparations for the “big day”. But there is a large part of me that wants it all to slow down just a little bit. To not feel as if we’re hurtling at break-neck speed toward the celebrating. There’s a large part of me that longs for more space for reflection and quiet – time to truly sit in awe of what this season means. God, in Jesus, coming so very, very close to us. The intimate way that God experienced (and experiences) life with us.
There is one more candle yet to light on our wreath. This Sunday we will light the candle of Love, remembering God’s unimaginable love for the world. I hope that as we count down this last week of Advent to the “big day” that you and your family will find ways to slow down and sit with the blessing of the truth of God’s great love for you.