Its Advent . A time for preparation and reflection on our lives in preparation for the wonderful event of Christmas. We are trying to go a lot lighter on presents this year and celebrate the joy of the event. We will do all the usual things , the tree , the stockings, the turkey , attend a round of Christmas gatherings and remember the poor. We usually try to to have a good chunk of family time laid aside over the holiday season. Sitting in a quiet time between services reflecting on the reason for the season my impression was that I should "Watch for Gifts". Gifts?. We usually think of Christmas being a time the Wisemen give Jesus gifts, or that Christ is born to us as a gift. It not something we think of that Jesus would be sending us special gifts. But that was the impression and I left church with the kind of inner excitement one might have when you are dating and wondering if there will be a special box in the branches of the tree. I currently attend two churches on Sunday morning. St. Anne's first and CLCC the families church of choice. They compliment each other. One being Catholic and the other a community pentecostal( they are user friendly). Both have coffee and hot chocolate. Occasionally both have cookies. One has to get ones priorities straight in these matters. I don't see what the fuss is about. I was pleased to find out I was not banned from eating cookies at fellowship time in either church...Paul would have liked that. Okay so I am an ecumencial cookie eater. Anyways..I was alert to being sent"presents" something that Jesus who knows me so well was sending out this year instead of cards. I popped into CLCC and had just caught my breathe when the special music for the morning was announced a lovely latin solo from Vivaldi. Now this is a church where Latin is not spoken or sung and the stage is full of drums, electric guitar and key boards. We get out worship songs off an overhead not a hymnal and Latin solos are almost unheard of. I smiled..I am a classical music lover , and this was wonderful. rare and special. Gift number #1. He knows what I like I smiled a thank you into the eternity. Several weeks ago a big box had been sitting on the staff table with old books and for some reason I had been too busy to look. They ended up after selection in the coat rack corner and as I was putting something away I spied Little Flowers from St. Francis of Assisi. Now you have to understand my book collection. I have a goal of having a library of lovely classical spiritual reading. Only problem is I don;t have the cash to buy all those goodies, so I wait for them to come to me. (example) when I first really desired to start a library of spiritual reading one of my then youngsters found the Imitation of Christ in a discard book pile and said Here Mommy this looks like one of those books you like to read...along with several other Gems. I needed a bookshelf . We were driving by the neighbours and on their driveway was one of those take it for Free signs...just the right size bookshelf, and we hauled it home in a wheel barrow. I wanted a prayer carpet...came the same way...so when I hear Watch for Gifts I perk up....So in the now picked over box was still a number of lovely little wonders. Mother Theresa, more Francis , goodies and at the bottom of the book a for Carmelites older version of
St. Theresa of Liseux who sent me roses early in my spiritual quest. And this odd old hardback..called This Tremendous Lover by Eugene Boylan OCS ...a Cistercian...talk about custom fit gifts...and its a good read..if your looking for Cistercian formation reading ...which it is..
So these were the start of my twelve days of Christmas present...and I even won some lovely candles at the staff party..I am like a child now....I am wondering what else is under this mystical Christmas tree...I think in a way that is what Advent at spiritual level is supposed to be about. We are supposed to be like children. Waiting for the wonderful gift of the Messiah . We wait in the darkness of this winter for the light of His love to dawn on us and warm us with his company. We wait in expectation like a child. We wait with wonder and an increasing sense of joy. We light the candles. We sing the Christmas carols. We hear the antiphons of expectation.
We prepare our hearts to receive Him..this very best of Gifts who comes as a child laying in his Mothers arms. Opening our hearts to be enfolded in His.