By Stacey Kohl
Preparation. It’s a word we hear quite often during this season as we prepare for Christ’s arrival in Bethlehem and prepare Christ’s eventual return. When I picture this idea of “preparation” as it relates to Advent I find myself imagining a person sitting quietly, staring wistfully off into the distance as they wait. It’s a peaceful image—full of softness and gentle expectation.
It’s a nice picture…but one that doesn’t hold up so well in the “real world.” In fact, preparing for the arrival of a loved one is seldom, in my experience, a quiet, gentle, or peaceful activity.
I have just spent the greater part of the day in just such a state of “preparation.” As I prepare for the arrival of friends, several of whom I haven’t seen in quite some time, I have found myself immersed in the reality of “preparation.” Preparation instead of being a soft, wistful experience, is actually quite a bit of work! The bathrooms need to be cleaned, the floors swept, the dishes washed, laundry put away, windows washed, and the dust bunnies—which are perhaps now better described as dust Chihuahuas-- cleared out from under the furniture. Preparation is, in fact, a lot of work!
As I went through the day “preparing” I began to wonder though, if there isn’t something more to all this “work” than meets the eye.
This time of preparation required something of me. It required me to pay attention to the world around me and to see things that, on most days, I might look right past without a second thought. It required me to look a bit more closely at the nooks and crannies around me, to see where the dust bunnies had gathered and where the laundry had piled up. It required me to notice things I might not have noticed had I not known a dearly loved friend would soon be walking through my door.This is the “work” of the season of Advent—to notice where the dust bunnies may have gathered up in our own hearts and lives and then to, perhaps, spend some time tending to those dusty, dingy, neglected places as we prepare for the arrival of our loved One.