Part of this soul orientation (or reorientation) to the church calendar was motivated by my need to have a different clock chiming in my soul. I think it’s working.
I found myself saying, “I can’t believe it’s already the second week of Advent. Where is the year going?”
Whining about time is a good sign. Right?!
Last week we talked about the role of active waiting when it comes to Advent. This week, the Advent theme in The Circle of Seasons by Kimberlee Conway Ireton is “prepare.”
“Preparation involves paying attention.” As I meditated on this, I wondered how I usually prepare for something. Here’s what I noticed about preparation and me:
- Ninety-nine percent of the time, I’m the kind of person who prepares WAY head of time. Last minutes doesn’t motivate me; that lovely warm feeling of a task being done far before it needs to be, now that gets me off my behind.
- Except … when it comes to packing. I’ve been known to start actually packing for an international trip an hour before I leave for the airport. Why this one area? I don’t know. But I think we all have inconsistencies :).
- I mostly get everything worked out in my mind and then it’s easy to put a plan into motion.
- Overall, I like the feeling of being prepared.
What I’m less clear, is what this has to do with me and being prepared for Christ coming back. So, this week, I’m going to tune in to where I notice I am preparing or am prepared for something. As I notice, I’m going to see what patterns emerge and if they mean anything.
This week we have the treat of hearing from Britta on the relationship between preparing and peace:
When I was a little girl, I hated to get ready for bed. Maybe I didn’t want the day to end. Maybe I didn’t want to miss anything. Whatever the reason, I lived in denial of the fact that time would run out on me.
Every night, I was supposed to have a bath, brush my teeth, and go to bed by certain time. And every night, I waited until the last possible second to get ready for bed. My pre-bedtime routine was scant, to say the least, and my kids never get bored by the stories.
For instance, if I was running late, I had a clever technique to trick my parents: I would splash water on myself, throw on my PJ’s and put some toothpaste on my tongue. I could get “ready for bed” in 30 seconds flat. The fact that I grew up to be a dental hygienist is an irony that never escapes me.
Unfortunately for me, my speedy routine didn’t always work. Even 30 seconds was too long, sometimes. I can remember watching Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley up to the very last minute, then running upstairs with my Daddy’s heavy footfalls on the steps, close behind me. I think I got a spanking almost every night, for two years straight. I know my parents were amazed at my consistency. Looking back, I am amazed at theirs.
Preparation and peace go hand in hand.
As a grown up, I do best when I prepare ahead. At night, I like to make sure the countertops are empty of mail, books, papers, and dishes before bed. I fold the throw blankets and put the pillows back in place on the sofa. When we wake in the morning, our home is neat and orderly (on most days). If I need to go somewhere, I try to get ready early and leave myself 10 extra minutes for the kids to grab a snack or for me to find my phone. I have learned that I am more at peace, when I am better prepared.
Advent reminds us to be prepared for the return of Jesus. Sometimes the wait seems too long. Sometimes the world seems too lost. Jesus knows how people tend to get discouraged, so He said:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
We don’t find peace as the world finds peace—we know that real peace only comes from knowing Jesus. Did you notice that the theme for this week builds on the theme from the last week?
Preparation and peace come when we are actively waiting, by living in hope.
Is Jesus the reason for your hope and peace? Are you prepared to meet Him? In spite of all the turmoil going on in the world, remember where your hope lies!
How about you? What kind of preparer are you? How are peace and preparation related for you?
Image Copyright: artphotoclub / 123RF Stock Photo
Jody Collins says
I’ve got Kimberlee’s bed next to my nightstand….the ‘actively waiting’ paragraph all underlined. Thanks for this reminder about paying attention. Jesus, help me see you in everything…
(p.s. who is Britta? :-)
Jody Collins says
“Kimberlee’s BOOK next to my nightstand.” Goodness.
Actually, the picture of a little bed next to your bed tickles my funny bone! Can’t stop giggling :)
Jody, good question on Britta! I realize I need to do a better introduction! Will do :)
This really speaks to me. I love to be prepared, to be ready early, to have plans made in advance, but it isn’t really how I live. Lately I seem to mostly “fly by the seat of my pants.” I want to change that. I know how much better I feel when I have taken time to prepare. I pray that during this season of Advent I will slow down, look around me, enjoy the present, remember what Christ has done and is doing for me. I want to be more intentional about prayer times and being prepared not only for each day, but for the return of Jesus. With God’s help I can do it! “Preparation and peace come when we are actively waiting, by living in hope.” Yes, by putting our faith and trust in God we can have a peace that only he can give. :)
Gayl, I love hearing what you’re thinking and how these ideas strike you. I”m also, obviously, a huge fan of planning. I need to think more about how it brings peace to me and how I can see God at work in both the planning/preparing and peace. xox to you!
I am a procrastinator. Have been all my life. I can still hear you laughing Amy! This post hit me right in the heart. Procrastination is not peaceful. John 14:27 gets posted on my computer monitor tomorrow morning! Thanks Amy and Britta for these wise words.
ERIN!! Yo know me well :)! I did laugh . . . and then headed to bed with a lighter heart :). Thanks friend xoxo
Kimberlee Conway Ireton says
Thanks, Amy, for that lovely photo with a quote from my book. I don’t think my words have ever been part of an inspirational photo before!
I am usually a pre-planner. I love knowing that I won’t be in a panic at the last minute…because it’s already done. But there are certain things (like your packing) on which I drag my feet…and I’m not altogether sure why.
Peace and preparedness do go hand in hand…though I’ve never articulated the connection before reading Britta’s words. My favorite line: “I know my parents were amazed at my consistency. Looking back, I am amazed at theirs.” That struck me as both funny and deeply true: Her parents’ consistency was a form of preparedness, I think.