Friday, November 28, 2008

A star to discover

"If, as Herod, we fill our lives with things, and again with things; if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have the time to make the long, slow journey across the desert as did the Magi? Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds? Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary? For each of us, there is a desert to travel. A star to discover. And a being within ourselves to bring to life." Author Unknown

On this day after Thanksgiving I am so grateful to be sitting here in my usual spot with no hurried shopping planned or any place we need to go. The house is quiet with Danica napping and Delaney at the table drawing pictures of her favorite ornaments from the tree we decorated as a family yesterday. Later we will bake gingerbread cookies while we play Christmas music. Tonight we will begin our month long celebration of the Advent of our Savior, the life which brought eternal life.

Although we celebrated Christmas growing up we did not observe Advent in any way. As a lover of ritual when it brings me closer to truth I am searching out new ways for my own family to make the Christmas season more about Christ. (This has been a wonderful resource in my preparation for celebrating Advent in our home.) The anticipation, preparation and longing of Christ's Advent depicted through rich symbolism and imagery is a beautiful way to keep our hearts and minds focused on the coming of our King. It calls us to be still and reflect--to REST in the gift of gifts.

I received in the mail today an advanced copy of Keri Wyatt Kent's new book, Rest, Living in Sabbath Simplicity, to be released a week from today by Zondervan. (Stay tuned for Keri to stop by on her blog tour sometime in January.) I am only about half way through this convicting and encouraging book all about the real purpose of this present wrapped in a command called the Sabbath. As she describes the purpose of the Sabbath and the heart of God behind it she returns over and over again to the concepts of observing and remembering, the same truths that draw me to make celebrating Advent a new focus in our home. She writes, "In the Hebrew tradition, Sabbath is not simply a day but a mindset, a living and lived-in symbol. The day is the centerpiece of the week; anticipated for three days, practiced for one, and remembered for three days after." Our Christmas should reflect this same mindset of anticipating with prayer and longing, joyful celebration and then remembering. Oh how I long to live in the symbol of this season all year long.

I love this prayer by Henri J. M. Nouwen, "Lord Jesus, master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!"

Thank You for showing me new truths about how to celebrate You. Please give our family the grace to be still and discover the Bright and Morning Star during this season and always.


Angie said...

Oh, Moni, Moni... I am crying and I can't stop. This is gorgeous!!! And so true. Love the quotes. LOVE your heart! Praying you have a wonderful holiday season... every day of Advent will make me think of you and your routine and I will wonder what you are doing and thinking each day. I can't tell you how much I love you. Praising God with you for the PRICELESS gift He sent. XOXO.

Keri Wyatt Kent said...

I'm so glad you are enjoying the book--thanks for the kind words about it.

Ella said...

Please attribute the qoute used to the proper author of the orignal works. It is artist and poet, Michael Podesta.

I don't mind things being copied from my site, but if you google him you will see he is a big time artist who sell this poem.

Thanks for making the correction. He is lovely man with many spirtual thoughts.

Merry Christmas,

Ella Carmichael


Monica Kaye said...

In response to Ella's comment I visited Michael Podesta's site and this is his background to the beautiful quote of unknown origin.

"I have never been able to locate the source of this text. It was sent to me years ago as a Christmas card. Basically, the meaning seems to me much like Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God” – challenging, like that, suggesting the risks and rewards, in stillness.

Risks? Looking beyond attainments, career, honors, wealth, “things” for a sense of personal significance.

Rewards? Well, the text alludes to one example. It is Mary saying “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word”. Luke 1:38"

And so the "author unknown" will remain.