Last year my windows were festooned with ribbons, like peppermint stripes to the floor. Colored lights glowed at the door, and the Christmas candles flickered in the hallway bathroom. Even the couch had a snowman pillow on it.
This year, my 2-foot tree is the only bit of Christmas in an otherwise very normal, every-day living room. Only one present is wrapped. Another present sits on my desk in a brown box, exactly as it looked when the UPS guy dropped it off last night. All other presents are still at the store, undiscovered. It has been a busy month, filled with goodbyes to students who are returning home after the semester, graduation parties and unexpected guests.
But my heart feels quiet. Anticipatory.
For the first time, my husband and I decided to celebrate Advent.
We bought a cheap brass candle ring online that came with the purple and pink tapers, and we downloaded a devotional by John Piper. We read it from the glowing screen of the phone as we lie in bed each night.
The words have been garlanding my heart with awe.
That the King would come, not to be served but to serve? The realization spreads fresh across my duty-bent heart like a red carpet to welcome him.
And that star that God placed in the sky millennia in advance, timed to perfection so that men who scanned the night for signs would see it–dazzling. The sheer scale of planning that went into His entrance sends fiery sparks of worship through my heart, brighter than any tinsel.
My house may look pretty much as it did in October, but I can feel Christmas within me. More of Christ. More adoration for my King, the one who let himself be made small and weak to bring me near.