Earlier this week, I had big feelings over small things.
I cried over Christmas lights. It wasn’t pretty. I was skeptical and cranky about our tree.
But today, the tree is decorated with a colorful cacophony of memories and strung with not-LED colored lights. The sun is hitting it just so–illuminating the striped glass ball that used to hang on my Grandma’s tree and the green floral lollipop that my mom bought for me at our neighbor’s boutique sometime when I was about 5. A battalion of nutcrackers guard the presents that have begun accumulating under the tree. My youngest two take charge of the tree decorating these days, and it’s perfect. A lens graced with love changes everything.
Yesterday, John O’Donohue reminded me:
“It’s a startling truth that how you see and what you see determine how and who you will be.” (Anam Cara, p. 62.)
These words strike me as deeply true. They resonate with my Advent question for this year:
“What am I seeking this Advent?”
We often find what we are looking for. If I am looking for imperfection, I will spot it. If I am looking for everything that could go or is wrong, I’ll find it. If I’m looking for all of the ways that Christmas will be a disappointment this year and so hard for so many people, I will find that too. Because life and people are imperfect. Things go terribly wrong sometimes. Disappointment is real and close, this year especially.
I need help with my seeing. And isn’t it great that this is just the kind of help the Spirit seems to be excited to give?
I’m seeking beauty and wonder.
In these dark winter days, I can wake up early enough to wait with Venus as she exits the morning sky just before the clouds start glowing pink. I used to think this time of year was drab, but I never noticed how the light reflects off of every dried seed and grass. Beauty is ready to crack my heart open when I am paying attention.
I’m seeking blessing.
St. Theresa reminds us that “All is gift.” Gratitude evangelist, Brother David Steindl-Rast says that while it isn’t possible to be thankful for everything that happens, it is possible to be thankful for something in every moment. How do I seek the gift in this time, the gifts in the midst of this time that we are in? How can I be a gift? I seek open hands and an open heart to see and to bless.
What do I seek this Advent?
I seek God.
Whether blazing like a star of fire or hidden among the daily rhythms of preparing food and washing dishes.
Open my heart.
Open my eyes.
That I might recognize your presence–
that I might know that all time is holy.
That I might know
You are near
in this season of quiet,
when light is scarce.
May our seeking be graced with wonder and love this Advent season.