I have joined Floss and others in a Pause in Advent. Check out Floss's site for a list of other bloggers participating in this annual event.
Here's something I wrote on this blog a couple of years ago:
Yesterday I was told a story about a young pastor visited at home by an older pastor. The older man told the younger man that every table in his house should be an altar. By this, he didn't mean the young pastor should have a chalice and a silver platter of communion wafers on his bedside table and TV trays. Instead, he was preaching a kind of mindfulness. Pay attention, he was saying. Keep God in mind whatever you do.
When I think about cleaning my house for Christmas as a way of making it picture perfect for a picture-perfect Christmas, I feel cranky and tired. Count me out. I would rather celebrate Christmas among the dust bunnies, thank you very much.
But when I think of Advent as a time of making altars throughout the house, then I feel much more cheerful.
The reason we observe Advent is that we have to prepare our hearts for Christmas. We have to make them big. And by building our little altars, we are reminding ourselves that God is on His way. We say, We are ready to be hopeful. We are ready for peace. We are ready to truly love one another.
We are ready, we say, to greet God when He appears in our doorway.
With that, I bring you this week's poem, by Mary Oliver.
Making the House Ready for the Lord
Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice –it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves
and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances –but it is the season
when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door. And I still believe you will
come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know
that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come in.
From Thirst, Beacon Press, 2007