One of my favorite ministry-related memories from this time of year is of typing a sermon on my laptop by the light of the Christmas tree. This was a couple years ago. Christmas itself had already passed, and it was that sleepy week between holidays. Barely anything was happening church-wise, and I hadn't felt any real sense of urgency to sit down and write my sermon. I hadn't really felt inspired about what to say, either. But when I knew I finally had to sit down and put something to paper (or screen), it was later one post-Christmas evening. Coffeewife at that time was working second shift at a hospital and Coffeeson was still baking in the oven. So I had a quiet, dark house lit by nothing besides the festive lights of the season. It actually made for a very peaceful, relaxed feel for sermon-writing.
This memory remains one of the clearest representations of what I treasure most about this season. Moments like it don't come very often this time of year for many people, for many different reasons. And yet we're meant to focus on peace during this second week of Advent. How many of us are truly seeking peace in the midst of our hectic daily lives? Of course, peace looks different or means something different for different people. For me, it's winding down by the light of our tree and making space to welcome God's presence.
We put up our tree on Saturday. I barely had the box open and Coffeeson was excited to help. I doubt he really understood what was in the box, but as soon as I flipped open the lid he was pulling out branches. Part of it is just his age and development: he's become quite the curious little monkey lately (ask Coffeewife about her cellphone and the cats' water dish sometime). Once the tree was fully assembled, he was so excited to see it. He kept pointing at it, all the while making a joyful noise. He'd do it again when we got the lights up, and again when the ornaments were hung. I wasn't sure how much he got out of last Christmas, but this year he's really paying attention.
And Sunday morning before anyone else was awake, I made my way downstairs. We have a habit of leaving the tree on all night as sort of our living room "nightlight." It would have been the stove light otherwise. It was a welcome sight; a welcome start to the day. After starting the coffee, I sat down next to the tree to read my Advent devotion. And just like that, I was able to create the space I had treasured a few years earlier while writing my sermon.
We associate peace with light this time of year. I've found personal ways to do that as well.