We asked guest blogger, Noel Carlson, to share her thoughts with us again. We think you’ll enjoy them!
By Noel Carlson
It is the 5th Sunday of Advent, and although I am sure it is not marked on the traditional church calendar, I’m lighting a candle anyway. Somehow I’ve missed it. I feel like I’ve missed Christmas. With my coffee in hand, I pause for reflection. This stillness is welcomed by my soul.
Sundays in Advent are about preparation for the newborn king. Looking back, I seemed to have prepared but find myself still waiting. The cookies were baked, kids’ concerts attended, and stockings were stuffed, but where is the newborn king?
We sing, let every heart prepare him room. Instead so much of the holiday season here is the expending of energy, time, finances, concerns, and other resources. We expend until we ourselves are completely spent, left with an emptiness inside; a hollow ache that doesn’t seem to quite match the festive splendor found on pinterest or our instagram feeds.
Ann Voskamp talks about Mary conceiving the miracle of Jesus in her book, “The Greatest Gift.” In it, she shares that it wasn’t about Mary being fully perfected, all of her checklists accomplished, every spiritual discipline in place, unblemished and completely whole. She wasn’t completely prepared. She was simply a human who made space for the divine. “Mary–she opens her hands and she nods. And the promises come true in the space of her.”
The same space that can be found in our hollow ache.
This morning, I do the same. In my pause, completely spent. I too open my hands and nod.
Voskamp continues, “Somewhere you make space. And you feel the space become a sanctuary. Sanctity stilling the crush. Glory overshadowing everything else.”
Tonight, our family will celebrate the 5th Sunday of Advent. During our weekly Shabbat, we will break the bread and drink the cup; the flesh and blood brought to us by that newborn king. It is our time as a family to come together and pause and reflect. And we will open our hands and nod our heads, yielding over our empty spaces to him. For isn’t that what he’s wanted all Advent long?
Beyond my lit candle this morning, our nativity scene catches my eye. I see it’s been rearranged, as it often is by my children. All the members of the creche have formed a circle, surrounding the newborn king. My kids in their rearranging got it right. Those at the nativity weren’t there on display, facing the outward world, posed just so; they made a space and welcomed him in.
Emmanuel, God with us, filling the hollow ache.
Happy 5th Sunday of Advent, fellow parents. May you and your children continue to be filled with him now and throughout the year.