This morning I was once again awakened far earlier than usual. This time by the loud complaints of a cat who thought she was starving to death. I can assure you that she was not. Once I placed her breakfast in the kitty bowl, I pushed the button on the coffee pot and plugged in the Christmas tree. If I was wide awake, I may as well enjoy it.
Sitting in the dark, sipping hot coffee with cream and raw sugar, and watching how the Christmas lights reflected off the window looking out towards the deck... it was easy to think of Peace on Earth and the true meaning of Christmas. It was quiet and beautiful, especially now that Florentine's tummy was full and she was able to snooze again.
Yesterday I watched a program from Bethlehem College in Minneapolis on the NRB Channel. Joe Rigney was beginning a series about Jonathan Edwards, one of my heroes of the faith. One thing he said about Edwards was so profound that I was thinking of it this morning, was how everything around Edwards reminded Him of God.
Oh, not like the Druids, past and present, who see all of nature as God. No, everything around him led his thoughts toward God. The One True God. As I looked at the beauty of Christmas decorations around me, I realized this is what the Season of Advent and the Wonder of Christmas does for followers of Christ.
For a short time each year, the music, the sparkle, the decorations, and the traditions of Christmas lead our thoughts toward the first Advent... and the coming Advent. If there are thin places on the sod of the planet, then the Christmas season is a thin place on the calendar. Heaven comes closest to Earth in the darkest week of the year.
I know we will hear the stories of the pagan beginnings of decorations and dates and those other parts of Christmas that we enjoy. That is okay. Let others be reminded of the days before the Light of the World manifested on this planet in the form of a baby in a manger... who became the man on the cross.
I see all these things as having existed in pagan cultures and then the Truth came and transformed them into times and objects that for millennia will turn the thoughts of people toward Him. Toward the true God. The only God worth our worship.
I at times have ended a blog post with the word Maranatha. Which can mean both "Our Lord has come" and "Our Lord is Coming". The latter is the more common meaning in the 21st Century. I must admit that quite often it is not a prayer I say but more a frustrated statement such as, "You know you can come anytime, Lord!".
Thankfully, no thunder and lightening ever appears when I'm lippy to God. Unlike when I showed such an attitude as a teenager toward my mother. She was not long suffering in that sense of the word.
I'm pretty sure it is because He knows the hearts of His people. He knows our fears and our frustrations, our hurts and our wounds, and especially He understands our longing for when all things will be made perfect.
He also knows that Beauty will turn our hearts toward Home.
Each of us will walk through the Christmas Season with a unique set of joys and sorrows, doubts and fears, faith and worship... not knowing what the coming year will bring. There are signs here and there already of political chaos in many parts of the world. Many are already dealing with illness, strained finances, and broken relationships. He knows it all...
That is why I truly with all my heart believe He has given us this Season as a gift in this time and in this place. As we celebrate the first Advent with those items we find most beautiful around us and the people we care for... if not in our homes, at least in our hearts... our thoughts turn toward the Giver of all good gifts.
We can trust that someday all will be made perfect. He kept His promise the first Advent, we can trust He will keep His promise in His second coming, too.