Friday, December 21, 2007
Patience and Peace in Advent
This has been an exceptionally good Advent, and I am not even sure why. We didn't do anything particularly different than last year, other than adding the Jesse Tree. In fact, I probably spent even less time in scripture and prayer, in intentional heart waiting, for His coming. So I am sitting here trying to figure out what is different. I think this is the culmination of my journey this year and the beginning of something new.
I am a control freak by nature. Since I am a homemaker, that controlling nature comes out in how I keep my home. I have spent the last five and a half years of marriage trying to keep a perfectly clean home, stay on top of all of the office work, take extra good care of the boys, and, in general, be in control of my environment. This year I have been learning to let go, to find peace in the chaos and stop living in a state of constant stress. Strangely, the house runs about the same, and when it doesn't, I don't get completely depressed.
This outward letting go is slowly leading to an inner letting go. So many bad things have happened to me and to people I love over the past few years, and I have spent a lot of time angry at God for not managing things better. Obviously, I could do a better job! But as these difficult things have played out and the fruits of suffering and waiting and enduring have begun to reveal themselves, I am seeing how very in control God really is. I am finding patience to wait on His plans and peace to rest in the waiting. This may seem like a little thing for you, but it is HUGE for me.
And so I came into Advent this year with a relaxed and peaceful and joyful attitude. There have been moments of stress, but overall I have just enjoyed the time. I haven't rushed to shop or prepare gifts or decorate, but those things have slowly happened. The pace of preparation has picked up in these last days, but I have not been stressed. Last year I would have freaked out that my Christmas decorations weren't out by now. But this year I just waited.
I took Calvin to see The Nutcracker today. (He loved it, by the way, and he was even more impressed that his mommy had once danced in it.) Somehow, that put me in the mood to finish up. And so tonight I set out the Nutcrackers, the creches, the other decorations. I trimmed the house with greenery and lights and candles. Now all we have left is wrapping gifts, hanging stockings, and putting the babe in the manger on Christmas Eve. It has happened, and I am not even sure how. I sure didn't have a plan, but I enjoyed the time.
Now if only I could prepare for my 30th birthday as peacefully and joyfully. Is it really only two more days...less than that. Yikes!