“For no word of God shall never fail.” Luke 1:37
What a wonder is this. Whatever God says, it happens. And we see proof of that in who Mary was, in who Jesus is. Many many years before Mary looked in the face of Gabriel, we knew of her. Many years before Jesus was born, we knew who he would be. The promise had been made – to Abraham, to David. The promise that God was going to send someone to rescue us, to heal the brokenness between us, between me and my God. And now, as we wait, all creation holds its breath.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5
Advent. Waiting. Looking for the light. A time to reflect. I hope that in all the “things” of this season, that we, you and I, will find time for reflection. For preparation. The light is coming. We need to be ready.
When the sun shines on the November leaves, the dying leaves, making each one shine golden, it is a view so beautiful that my heart aches. Those leaves, hanging there, waiting to fall to the ground, useless, no longer giving life, are graced with a beauty as precious as gold.
That, that glowing, achingly beautiful gold, is what the heart of a servant must look like to Jesus. A heart surrendered, a heart dying to all that it once was, to all the life that it has in it. But in this dying, the heart becomes only more beautiful, not less. It becomes more than it could have ever been if it had held on, not surrendered. And, just like the leaves, it basks in the light.
It’s only one day. I remind myself often. On those hard days when school doesn’t go as planned. When my kids are having a bad day – a day where they can’t control ALL THE FEELINGS. When I am having a day where I can’t control ALL THE FEELINGS.
It’s only one day. The day I graduated from college. The day I married my love. The day each of my babies was born. The day we moved to the farm. Each one of those days was life changing, but they were only one day.
Good days, bad days. Whatever kind of day it is – it is the only day I have right now. It is the day that I need to enjoy, to see the blessings, to feel the grace. It is the only day I have today.
Tonight, we cut, or carved, our pumpkins. You have never seen kids so excited. They were dancing on the porch, singing songs, and could barely calm down enough to draw the face on the front of their pumpkins. It was really kind of fun to watch.
Watching them, I realized that I have forgotten how fun it was to be a kid. In the process of growing up, I feel like I have lost that joy, that excitement with life. Where does that come from? What do kids do differently than adults? I am sure they worry less. I am sure they plan less. I am also 100% sure they play more.
Basically, I decided, kids have this ability to live in the present, to be “here” as opposed to somewhere else in their heads. Maybe that’s what I am missing. Well, I know it is. I struggle to be present ALL THE TIME. I am a thinker by nature, so I am always planning this, thinking about that, analyzing everyone. I miss so much of the beauty in front of my face by being somewhere else – by being cut off from the present. But at least I didn’t miss the pumpkin carving joy on our porch tonight.
“Mama, when are we going to have a date night?” Well, tonight, I just happened to have a date. A date with the little man that first stole my heart while he was growing inside me. We went to a fiddle concert at a local college.
I always feel like I need to make the most of these opportunities, so I try to teach him things, to talk about IMPORTANT STUFF, to make it a positive learning experience. As I began to do that tonight, something stopped me. I realized that sometimes I just need to spend time with my littles without any agenda other than being with them. There will be times for the big talks. There will be time to teach them the important thing. But, sometimes, it is enough to be with them, to listen to them, to look at them and really see them.
I saw him tonight, my first baby becoming a man too quickly before my eyes. I saw how tall he is, and I saw how he thinks things through like an adult. But then I saw a little boy excited to be back stage, running in the empty parking lot while I talked to a friend, curious about how they made pizzas at the restaurant, and my heart warmed. The little boy is still there. It was a good date.
Eat. As farmers, it seems that all of our life revolves around eating. We till ground to plant food for people to eat. We plant seeds and weed the garden to grow food for people to eat. We harvest food for people to eat. We move cows to greener pastures so they can have grass to grow big so that eventually people can eat them.
It’s no wonder, then, that for us, eating is a kind of celebration, a gathering. It has taken a long time and a lot of sweat to put our food on the table, so when we eat – be it breakfast, lunch, or supper – it is a sacred space in our day. We eat as a family. We don’t hurry. We talk about our day – God’s blessings we saw, what we learned during school, or whatever comes up. We enjoy that time with each other. We enjoy feasting on the work of our hands.