Recently, I've been spending a lot of time thinking about preparation. Working as a church musician has its challenges and one of them is the preparation for major feast days, like Christmas and Easter.
Long before anyone has even located their Advent wreath in the basement, choir directors are planning the music for Christmas. Sometimes, I start as early as October on the most difficult pieces. And, invariably, the plan gets changed. There are illnesses, unexpected practice venue changes and car troubles. Nothing ever ends up just like I plan it. So, though I have never been confused about the time of Advent being preparatory, I am often faced with the challenge of it being frenetic, frantic and downright frazzled! While most people can't wait for Christmas to be here, I'm often left wishing that Advent was one week longer.
Much in the same way we live our lives looking forward to our last days, so we face our yearly Advent looking toward Christ's second coming with expectant hope. We remember the promises made to us throughout Salvation History and fulfilled in a tiny baby lying in a manger.
Life, like Advent, is full of surprises and plan changes, but Christmas is where we're all heading in the end. And The all-grown-up Jesus still reaches His arms out to embrace us just as he does from his manger bed at His Nativity.
So my prayer for this Advent is to stay calm and let the unexpected happen and to do my best impression of a willow tree and not an oak tree.