Even though I spent a good chunk of time last week decorating the house for Christmas, I had not thought much about Advent. How often I leap ahead, instead of being present to what IS right now.
Now to be fair, what I know about myself is that I love to create settings, and often the setting is the first step for me as I enter a new season or a new task. The setting is now complete: the tree is in its cozy corner, the big blue cupboard is home to brush trees, all the Santa Al’s are stationed in the kitchen, and the Nativity Set is once again arranged on the white cupboard in the dining room.
I am ready to turn my heart to Advent.
One of my practices in recent years has been to select an Advent companion from the Advent Perspective cards illustrated by Tracy Mooty with questions and narration by Janet Hagberg https://www.bibleadventuresmn.com/product-page/the-advent-perspective
Sunday morning before getting ready for church I sat in my meditation chair in the garret and shuffled the cards. I took a deep breath and whispered, “Who will be my companion this season? Who will be my teacher, my guide and what are the lessons waiting for me to open and to receive?
I turned the cards over facedown, fanning them on my lap. Taking another deep breath, I moved my left hand over the cards, hovering like a hummingbird near a bright blossom, until –for whatever reason–I knew the card under my hand was THE card.
I turned over the card.
One of the Wise Men.
Wasn’t one of the Wise Men my Advent Companion last year? I checked my journal from December, 2020, and yes, that was the case, although it was one of the other Wise Men, one with a rainbow patterned cloak.
Last year I wrote in my journal how I have always appreciated the Wise Men’s openness to revising their plans; how open they were to new information and how they paid attention to their intuitions. They followed the star. They listened to their dreams, and isn’t it interesting that they had the same dream? What a conversation they must have had. “I had the most in intriguing dream last night.” “Wow, I had that dream, too.” “So did I.”
They listened to each other’s dreams about Herod’s ill intentions and after visiting the new child, they returned home by another way.
Much of 2020 and on into 2021 has been about adjusting, finding another way, and about listening to what we most need to do and be. I wonder how well I integrated those lessons. If at all. Apparently, the Wise Men still have much to teach me.
Here are the questions posed on the back of my Wise Man card:
How would you describe the journey you’ve been on this year? What course corrections might be needed now to better lead you in the direction of Bethlehem?
What precious gifts are you most eager to offer God in this Advent season?
Where in your life might you need to travel a different route in order to avoid danger or harm?
The Wise Men (WOMEN!!!!) will be my companions once again this year, and I look forward to the journey. Stay tuned.
An Invitation: What characters or images in the Christmas Story most interest you? Mary? The Sheep? The Star? I would love to know.
NOTE: This Thursday, December 2, I will publish the list of my favorite nonfiction books of 2021.