Silence is praise to you
And also obedience.
You hear the prayer in it all. (Psalm 65:1 The Message)
Happy New Year! I love saying that this time of year, because you probably think I can’t read a calendar. But in the realm of the church calendar, it is the greeting to expect. The liturgical year begins with Advent.
We often associate Advent with counting down the days until Christmas. Many novelty and craft stores offer Advent calendars with pockets for notes or miniature doors with chocolate candy behind them. (I used to get the candy ones for our boys. Last year they agreed that they might be a little too old, seeing that they are in their mid-twenties. And they admitted the chocolates weren’t that tasty.) So we put a tradition to rest.
As a family, each year our Advent observances would vary. We had a wreath with the traditional purple, pink and white candles. One year, I bought a wrought iron candelabra for our Advent centerpiece. And a couple years ago, I spied this wooden spiral wreath crafted by a young man in Canada,which I would have purchased, except my husband thought he could replicate it. I agreed to give him the pleasure of crafting one for our family.
I don’t know why, but the spiral design intrigues me. It evokes movement. The spiral reminds me of a path that leads me along on a journey. A journey that looks like shepherds, flocks, angels and kings and a holy family. A holy family that invites me to take the pilgrimage to the interior landscape of my soul.
My soul being the place that longs for connections. Connections that intertwine present day expectations with memories of the past. The past cries out for me to hope into the future. Life can spiral out of control, yet the spiral circles around to the central point.
The central point being: What will I center my Christmas desires around this year? Will I embrace the silence or scramble to recreate outgrown traditions? Will I rush to make rash judgments about others or will I walk in joyful obedience to love others? Will I see both silence and obedience as forms of prayer? To be honest I will weave in and out of these questions on a daily basis.
The spiral reminds me that I don’t have to waver, there is a path that leads to joy-filled days. (See Psalm 16:11) The spiral reminds me that God’s grace surrounds me every moment, clearing away the debris of sin and ushering in His mercy and peace and forgiveness.
How does your life spiral these days: frantically veering out of control or joyfully twirling in the presence of God? What connections are you making with the past, present and future as we behold the coming of the King?