Saturday, December 02, 2006

Joyous Advent!

Blessings to you and yours this Advent Season! From today's Gospel:
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from...the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap...Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” Lk 21:34-36

Unfortunately, my heart has become drowsy from those anxieties, and the days have been surprising me like traps. I pray that I will have the strength to trust more and more each day, even in the trying times, so that I can stand before Christ one day and know that my salvation lies in him. May I not be trapped in the next trial, Lord, but rely in you alone.

We have had a very exciting week! One of the wonderful things that happened was that our triplet nephews were born on Friday! They were only 29 weeks gestation, so they have a long way to grow before coming home, but we are praying they do well and beat all the odds. They were all around 3 lbs, so that's a great start! Last night I attended a beautiful Advent Evening for women where a mom of 10 boys spoke, and Mary Clare had a Christmas dance recital today. We're having another nice weekend with family and making plans for the next step in our family life.

We've gotten some of the Christmas decorations down, including the tree. I love gazing at my tree each day! But so far we have yet to finish it with lights or ornaments so this is how it looks:

Recently I've felt unfinished, like my Christmas tree. My "lights" have not all been shining, in fact most of them have been broken. The past few weeks I've allowed different anxieties to trap me, and have failed to let Christ's light shine through me. I've failed to spend time speaking with him and failed to trust in his plan for our family.

But what's beautiful is that he will give me new strands of lights. He will decorate my tree with colorful ornaments, beautiful ribbon, and memories and stories that will brighten my spirit. He has graced our family with blessings that we couldn't acquire on our own. He is SUCH a faithful God. I pray that next time in these situations I will remember his faithfulness and love, rather than doubt his ability to fashion my life according to his plan. He is always faithful, so why do I always fail to trust???

One way I will remember his faithfulness through Advent is through our Jesse Tree. It's in the very beginning stages, but I hope it is a rich tradition for our family. The other night I painted the first three ornaments on simple thin wooden ovals with acryllic craft paint. I had so much fun with my midnight painting project! These represent the Creation story (Earth), the Fall of man (apple), and God's promise to Noah (rainbow). They still need holes and ribbon to hang on the tree, and actually I still need a tree. I think I'll get a tabletop Christmas tree for the Jesse Tree this year, if I can't find an appropriate branch.

I hope to make a few more this year, with stories that will be meaningful to our family, particularly to Mary Clare. It should be fun! I'm also hoping to finally create an Advent wreath as well, and include some Advent prayers as part of our family activities in the coming weeks.
Well, it is now really Advent (12:02 am), so I'd better go spend some time reflecting with the Lord, instead of with strangers in cyperspace...

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