This is the season where we prepare for Christ's coming. First, we commemorate His arrival as the new born son of a virgin. But also, we prepare ourselves for His second coming, robed in Glory, at the end of the age.
Sound apocalyptic? Well, that's just the point. Christians are always thinking about the "end times" or the "last things." At least, we're supposed to bear those things in mind always. It's not that we can't (or shouldn't) focus on the present moment, this small point in time where we, in our finite-ness, exist. But we are exiles here, in many ways, and we were created with a longing for Love that only Love Himself can satisfy. That's why we are always looking to His coming again.
What must it have been like, I wonder, for those who were present at His first coming? for Mary and Joseph as they prepared themselves, as any other ancient couple would, for the birth of their first child? I can imagine Mary touching her growing belly frequently, heart beating quickly, wondering how her life will change as her Child grows, but overwhelmed always with the joy of motherhood. And Joseph is falling more and more in love with his wife, whom he has been called by God to protect and shelter, as he shares in the pregnancy of the God-made-man.
For the wise men of the east who saw His star at its rising and came to do Him homage? How long did it take them to find Bethlehem and the Child, bearing their precious gifts all the long way? What were they thinking, on the way, as they made an uncertain journey toward an uncertain end?
And the angels--all the host of bodiless warriors in God's court--who saw God incarnate! What wonder they must have felt! What joy and mystification. [How blessed we humans are, we bodily beings, who by virtue of our bodies can have the One God inside us!] How the angels did adore and sing His praises!
So happy Advent, everyone. Make the most of your preparations for Christmas (heart, soul, and home)--it only comes once a year, but (as my favorite and now-most-annoyingly-stuck-in-my-head childhood Advent song says):
Stay Awake *snap, snap*
Be Ready *snap, snap*
You do not know the hour when the Lord is coming.
Stay Awake! *snap, snap*
Be Ready! *snap, snap*
The Lord is coming soon!
[Nativity set poured and fired by Momma; painted and photographed by me.]