Monday, December 10, 2012

By the Light of the Tree

I slowly amble down the stairs, sleep still in my eyes, a hungry cat underfoot. Coffeewife's alarm has woken me as usual. Rather than fight it, I've become accustomed to starting my day when she does. Actually, I start mine earlier: she'll hit the snooze button four or five times before actually getting up.

The timer on the coffeemaker is one of my best friends. Gone are the days when I'd fumble around sleepily with filters and grounds; I'm able to just pour myself a steaming cup. I savor that first sip, and fancy a second. Third. Okay, I can do other things now.

The newsletter from my hometown church sits on the kitchen counter not yet read. I pick it up along with a small devotional booklet that the instructor of my spiritual direction program gave to the class, and sit on the couch right next to the Christmas tree.

Aside from the modest ones under the kitchen cabinets, I haven't turned on any lights. The tree stays lit at all times. It's just something we do.

I take another few sips of coffee while lazily leafing through the newsletter. The pastor has written a fun reflection about how quickly we receive text messages and contrasts that with how slowly the message of Advent comes to us. Nice. There's an article requesting information about a plaque in the sanctuary honoring members who served and died during WWII. I know that plaque very well. There's news of the upcoming Christmas program and services on Christmas Eve. I think about attending the late service after my responsibilities at my own church are finished. I suspect I'll be too tired.

Finished with that, I start reading from the devotional. There's a poem in front, and then a series of prayers based on readings from Isaiah:
What is future in Isaiah,
is present now in these,
the end days,
on the summit of the eternal mountains,
higher than the hills of the world,
your temple rests:
the glorified humanity of Jesus:
and so, this pilgrim advent,
I go up the mountain
to this temple,
that he may teach me his law,
and that I may walk in his steps. 
Jesus, teach me,
the last of the house of Jacob,
to walk in the light of Yahweh! -
Isaiah 2:1-5
I mull these words over for a few minutes, and then my mind wanders to other things: church, Christmas preparation, a recent conversation, how the year has gone.

This is the week when we're invited to think about peace. While the season, my transition, and certain other things don't always lend themselves to peace, I can at least enjoy these moments by the tree. May that peace somehow infuse itself in my entire day.