I recently wrote of one special Advent in my life. I was twenty years old then, and paying no attention at all to God. I wasn't attending Church regularly; I was in what I called my "I don't bother God and He doesn't bother me" phase. That started changing as the world began its pre-Christmas celebrations.
While I was not talking to the Lord on a regular basis at that time, He used Advent as an opportunity to talk to me.
It was a season of non-stop
reminders. I almost couldn't get away from them. Switching on a radio,
I would catch an old familiar carol, one I'd heard every Christmas
since childhood. This time, however, the words sounded... different. Sales clerks wished me merry
Christmas. A nativity scene was, as always, featured on the Court House
I've heard discussions lately about whether or not Christmas should be
celebrated before the 25th. There is so much commercialism, the
argument goes - and yes, I agree that this is the case. In the Church,
Advent is a time for quiet, for prayer, for hearts to wait in hushed anticipation.
There are many people, however, who are just as I was at twenty. They may not spend much (if any) time in Church. Maybe they were once deeply faithful to Christ, but along the way they've gotten distracted, busy, confused.
It seems to me that in the secular, "we're-doing-fine-by-ourselves"
world, there appears in this season a window of opportunity.
crack in the Everyday.
An opening through which the call of God might be heard
through carol or card.
In recent years, we have seen that crack narrow. The Court House steps
of my youth haven't seen a nativity display in years. Store clerks
wish me "happy holidays" at best. But even now, somewhere between
shoppers lined up for black Friday and the queues awaiting
after-Christmas sales, there is still a window of opportunity. A time
when someone rushing through a store might catch the strains of an old
familiar carol, one she's heard every Christmas since childhood. Yet
this time, the words sound.... different. She remembers pictures of a
babe in a manger, and some part of her seems to thaw....
This is a season when we can acknowledge (like at no other time) the One
Who was born for us. After all, few of our friends will toss out cards
that happen to have nativity scenes on them. Neighbors visiting our
home won't be offended by the words of "The First Noel." It's all just
part of the season, part of the holidays, part of the fun.
The Church will begin Christmas music and celebrations on the 25th, but out here in the world, the window is now wide open.
This is when scenes and songs normally found only in Church can spill
out into the world.
And who knows? Someone years from now might look
back on a card I sent this season, or remember the nativity scene she saw in my home, and recall this year as her own
For now, for just these few short weeks, the window is open.
We have no idea who might be looking through it.
I pray that they may catch a glimpse of Christ.