I’m not the best little homemaker in the country. I seem to have a very high threshold for clutter. Although I keep my home clean, there may be (and usually are) stacks of papers or unfinished projects or notebooks filled with books I’m editing on tables and chairs and even a few in baskets on the floor. For that reason, before anyone enters the house, I have to clean, clear the clutter, sweep out the corners where dirt seems to collect, use a feather dust to get rid of cobwebs on the ceiling.
This is what preachers do: we tell a story, then say something like, “This reminds me of why we celebrate Advent.”
For many years, George and I hosted a Christmas open house for church members and neighbors and, yes, I had to plan and clean and cook until the time came and we opened the door to our guests.
This reminds me of why we celebrate Advent. Christmas doesn’t start with the hanging of the greens and shopping. That’s Advent, the period of preparation. Christmas starts withthe birth of the Savior, when the prophesy comes to pass and the miracle is shared, but even with the joy of the season, there is a reason for Advent, those days before Christmas.
Exactly as I prepared for our guests weeks before we welcomed them, Advent is the time we prepare ourselves for the new birth, the light, the appearance of God made human. And, yes, I do this before He arrives because I have clutter in my brain and unpleasantness lurking in the corners of my soul and cobwebs covering my often unused commitment which makes me less able to receive God’s gift to us.
What is the clutter in my mind? Can I admit to the racism I attempt to pretend doesn’t exist there? What about my certainty that my beliefs are the only true beliefs–the clutter I hide behind a smile? What about that ugliness hiding in the corners of my mind, jealousy and pettiness? And my uncertain and wavering commitment to love and spread the good news? I need to sweep all those away before the arrival of our Savior so I can welcome Him with open arms.
Preparation: this is why we celebrate Advent.