I'm totally ready for Advent.
The wreath is on the table:
And there is a basket of stars...just ready to be hung up.
The stars is an idea that I borrowed from the Heidi Neumark, she wrote about her experiences serving as a pastor in the Bronx in the book Breathing Space.
She talks about her Advent preparations,
"After the children were in bed, I put up our Advent decorations: the glittery calendars, the Tree of Life tablecloth, the wreath of candles, the lion and the lamb, the bowl of stars, each inscribed with a name of someone to pray for. Every day we hang a star from the light fixture over our table and pray for its namesake as it dances in the rising candle heat." (Breathing Space p.210)
I've got a basket of stars, full of names ready to be prayed for. Each day as the star goes up, it will hang from the banner that my mom made a few years ago which is hung over my fireplace...I'm sure that light and heat will help all the stars dance.
I definitely connect with Heidi and the season of Advent. There is something about the longing for something that we have known, that is missing...for me it's remembering back to Advent and Christmas as a kid. After Thanksgiving the window candles went up to light up the dark winter nights and the advent wreath was placed in the center of the dining room table. I miss those days with family. My family is now in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Indiana...we rekindle those feelings and emotions when we gather together...but being apart reminds me that something is missing.
Maybe it's more than what's missing. Maybe it's the longing to recreate those joys and traditions as life goes on. Maybe it's the longing of feeling God's presence and God's love as we figured out which candles went in which room, as our fingers had little red dots from the prickling of the pine needles as we put together the advent wreath, as we argued over who got to use the candle extinguisher after the meal (because blowing out the candle made too much smoke.) I mean, who doesn't have a candle extinguisher in their house for the Advent wreath...we're the only ones? Okay... (For the record, I could tell you just where it is in the house...but I digress.)
How will God fill the empty spaces? How will the poor be fed? What will peace and justice look like in our lives and our world? I think these are the questions that still urge us to cry out O Come O Come Emmanuel...come into our hearts, our lives, our families, our communities, our church, our world...we, creation, waits with an eager longing...so come...we're ready....
Come now, O Prince of Peace,
Make us one body,
Come, O Lord Jesus,
Reconcile your people.
(Come now, O Prince of Peace, Evangelical Lutheran Worship #247)