November 29, 2009

readying my heart

It is no secret that I love Advent. I really love Advent. It helps me to let Christmas sink into my soul and to really celebrate the season, instead of rushing on through... checking off a million items on that dreaded to-do list... somehow missing what Christmas is all about in a flurry of check marks.
Last weekend our Sunday School took a field trip to a little farm... to play with the animals, to prepare for our Christmas program, to pose for pictures. My job was to take those pictures... and I took tons of them. I was kneeling in the dirt, I was standing on an unsteady rough stool, I was in the midst of the shepherds and animals at the manger. Taking picture after picture. I was hoping to get some great shots... really great ones. The sun was shining and the air was beautiful... and the whole morning exhausted me!
Later... going through the pictures, the reality of where I was struck me... and the tears started. In the moment, I was running and doing my job, but never once did I stop and revel in where I was. At the manger. In the midst of the shepherds and the animals. Sitting in the straw marvelling at the arrival of a newborn king. In the company of angels.
To look at the pictures... you would not guess that I was not in the moment. I think I am quite accomplished at that... putting on a good face and stumbling through, with no one the wiser. But it is not how I really want to live. I want to be present in the midst of it all. I don't want to miss a thing... and most certainly not the arrival of the King.
Today we light the first candle of Advent... and I am planning to sit down as a family and read a bit. And share our love for Christmas. The reason for Christmas. Of course, the best laid plans don't always fall into place... but if I don't plan for it I know that there is no chance of this time being set aside. So I plan... and I pray... and I sit my heart down in the straw and wait... for the best gift Christmas brings.


Busy Bee Suz said...

Beautiful!!! I love that you are planning for the good stuff; the important stuff.

Kay said...

It is so easy to put the face on and move forward without stopping to really take in the moment... the reality of Jesus' birth and all that means for us. May you stay in the moment throughout the season, and beyond. Beautiful post!

A Little Of This And That said...

To be present in the moment. This is the secret to a full life.

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

What a timely and beautiful reminder...we take pictures to preserve moments we never want to forget, but sometimes in our enthusiasm, we miss the very things we want to capture. But your cautionary tale isn't limited to photography--yet it IS about our focus. Great post!

Graceful said...

It's so easy to do that -- get caught in the moment yet lose the moment at the same time. Especially when you are engrossed in taking pictures - that happens to me all the time. I put so much energy into documenting the experince, I don't experience the experience. Ironic, isn't it?

I'm glad you had the realization of what you need to do to change the situation. And thanks for giving me a good idea to try to - planning ahead is key!

jenn said...

beautiful post Dawn! so true!

We started a new Advent study in SS--really good! I will have to share ;)

Loui said...

Thank you for so eloquently stating what we all know..and helping us in truly focusing on what it is all about!!
all beautifully said!
Hugs and smiles!

Cassie said...

You did it again Dawn. Touched my heart and tearducts. Thank you.And the addition of Mary Did You Know to your song list...excellent. Have a good week.

ps-haven't had an advent wreath since Jessica left home...I think I'll make one this year now.

K said...

It's so easy to get catch up in all the stuff surrounding the holidays. It's a good reminder to think about what it's all about.

deb said...

Oh , I know this.
Sometimes I think we feel like there is pressure to get it all just so though.
Great thoughts.

Ben said...

Yep, it was a great feeling when that first candle was lit yesterday. Hard to believe it's that time already, but what a wonderful time it is!

Richella said...

"I sit my heart down in the straw and wait." I need that tattooed on my hand. Or maybe just imprinted on my heart. Thank you for saying it so well.

Miss G said...

Dawn thank you for your comment on the Nester's post about sitting in the straw and marveling at the manger. I am looking forward to doing just that tomorrow night and your words helped me get my heart and mind wrapped more firmly around being in the right place.

May God bless you and I in our endeavors to sit and *be* with Him this season. I pray that your advent season is filled with wonderful reflections, realizations, remembrances and the joy of the moment! Kelly

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