Scripture: Psalm 16
Key verses: (7-9)
7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I keep the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
Reflection: It’s almost Christmas. I slept poorly last night, with my growing mental to-do list keeping me up. I know I’m not alone. So far today, four conversations with people have included an exchange like this:
“So, are you ready for Christmas?”
“Me neither.” (Followed by a litany of all the things we still have to do to prepare (top stressors being baking, cooking, shopping, wrapping, mailing, hosting), and the desire to let some of those tasks go in order to focus on family and faith.)
We all know we don’t need to do all the things we think we need to do. What if we prepared more for the Advent of our Lord than for Christmas at our house? The poet Mary Oliver has a beautiful Advent prayer poem that encourages us to focus on those who are nearest to us, as a way to welcome God.
Prayer: Making the House Ready for the Lord
Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice—it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves
and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances—but it is the
season when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door. And still I believe you will
come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know
that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come in.
Author: Julie Hester
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].