The angel Gabriel from heaven came, his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden Mary, most highly favored lady.” Gloria.“For know a blessed mother thou shalt be, all generations laud and honor thee; thy son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold, most highly favored lady.” Gloria. ~ Hymnbook 1972
It’s one week until Christmas. Seven days. Are you ready for it? I’m really not, but then, maybe I am. It depends on what I mean by ready. No, all of the preparations that usually go on this time of year are not done. I haven’t had the energy for it, but I am ready for Jesus, I hope. Working through life this year has helped me here.
This Advent season began as the Angel Gabriel visited Mary with the announcement that she was to be the mother of the Messiah. Emmanuel. God with Us. The one who has been awaited by God’s people almost forever, it seems. For the most part, they still believed He would come as promised. Luke 1:29 tells us that Mary was perplexed and she pondered this strange greeting. She meditated upon these words not really able to understand. Her thoughts were probably deep thoughts. “What? How? This can’t be, can it? Am I ready?”
What have we pondered as we prepare for Christmas? Have we thought about how the Messiah is growing us? What is God saying that brings us to pondering pause? Below are a few of my thoughts so far.
First, Ann Voskamp wrote this on December 1: “Okay — deep breath — not only is this month going to be okay — it’s all going to be Beautiful! No-Stress Holidays this year — because simply? quietly… we are hushing the hurry & waiting for you, Lord. And when we know it’s all about Jesus — there. is. no. stress. And we whisper it: I will not let December become about making a production when it’s simply about not. missing. You. Miracles happen throughout Advent — whenever I slow…. whenever I still…. whenever I simply look for small and unlikely shoots of Jesus’ love everywhere… because this grows deep in Jesus’ love for everyone.”
Wednesday, while we were snowed in, we saw Flickers looking for food in the cracks of the Green Ash right outside our window? They were very purposeful in their poking around. The fat squirrels joined them in the search for food, in the tree but also on the ground, where I throw dried bread crumbs from time to time. Ten inches of snow did not hinder them. They were more than willing to look deeper for their nourishment. Have I been willing to go deeper for mine?
I read in Isaiah (40:3), “A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” Still pondering.
Do I dig deep looking for Jesus? Or have I stayed on the surface of things? Do I still myself and consider what I’ve heard and seen? Have I spent still time with God? Or am I going at a mad pace with no time to wonder? No time to listen? To ponder? Have I allowed time to prepare myself for the coming of Jesus anew in me? Well, there is one more week in Advent. How about this week?
So, how? How do we go deeper? Where will we find nourishment? How might we prepare the highway in us? How will we be still in such a busy time? What will I do? Well, I have a list – First of all – Number 1, Decide; Then Be still; Read the story; Ponder; Share it with others; Pay attention; Join together; Pray without ceasing. Watch for Jesus; Be still. Repeat.
Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head; “To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,“my soul shall laud and magnify this holy Name.” Most highly favored lady. Gloria!