Advent is such a wonderful time of the year. People are busy baking Christmas treats, remembering old friends as they write Christmas cards and carefully shopping for special gifts for loved ones. It is a busy time of year, a time when most of us feel stretched. My favorite activity in this time of preparation is decorating the house. We always begin with the tree. It takes time decorating the tree with our beautiful collection of mismatched ornaments. We have a tradition of buying a new ornament each year, so as I place the ornament on the tree, memories of Christmas past rush in. When the children were around they would rush and pick out their ornament, the ones with important dates in their own story and then of course they would add the ornaments that they lovingly made. When the children were younger decorating the tree was a time of sharing memories and storytelling and now it is a solitary time of reflection which I treasure.
We have a few small crèches or mangers that I place in special spots around our home but it is the one on our fireplace mantle that receives most of our attention, this one has beautiful pieces that we can move around. Mary on her knees, a picture perfect young girl whose life was changed forever by saying yes, to God. Joseph at her side, after a visit from an angel did the honorable thing and married Mary and together they traveled to Bethlehem. The two rugged shepherds, the outcasts called to the stable by angels. The tiny porcelain baby is placed in the porcelain manger on Christmas Eve, a baby that changed the world for ever. And then the three ornate wise men moved into place after Christmas. Each year the Christmas story is retold on our dining room buffet, each year the story that we have heard again and again touches our lives and shapes us.
The simple action of decorating gives me an opportunity to enjoy not only our family stories but also the story of my faith. As a parent it is my privilege and also my responsibility to share the stories of my faith. There is something very powerful about sharing our stories, our stories of life and of faith and how each informs the other. We are shaped and formed not only by our family history but also our history as God’s people. In this season of Advent take the time to reflect, embrace and share your stories. May the retelling of each story awaken an awareness of a love abounding, a love birthed in a manger, a love lived out in our daily lives.
Blessings on your story sharing in this Advent Season