During Advent this year, I will be reflecting daily using this Advent Photo Devotional. The word designated for December 3rd was #Story.
Last night it hit me, my wife and I have a lot of stories already. It struck me as we unpacked box after box of Christmas ornaments how each one has some connection to a life experience, a trip, vacation, or hand me down from another’s experience in our family or close friends. For example, I found an ornament depicting the year my parents were married, as well as one celebrating my home congregation’s 100th anniversary. Of course, there were plenty depicting my wife’s and my anniversary, and then at least one it seemed from every trip that we have taken since.
Looking at the tree that is in progress- the angel still needs to be straightened, and the garland beads and ribbon still need to be placed on the tree, I think we might need a bit bigger of a tree next year. We’ll see. This six-footer has been serving us well since our first Advent and Christmas together. Who would have thought that this would already be the third home that it has been put together in.
What stories strike you this time of the year as you prepare and decorate?
This past week I was also reminded of the stories of Lefse. Both Allison and I come from strongly Norwegian families, so strongly, that we had to be sure and include the Lefse grill and all other accessories in our wedding registry. To our surprise, all of those pieces were filled and then some. We’re grateful and have put them to good use. This past weekend we used some of the excess mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving to make Lefse batter and then made them on Sunday night. Much to our delight, they turned out great. Surprisingly, there weren’t even any flops. Usually there are a couple that just fall apart, but not this time around.
While we made Lefse, I remembered the many years of watching my mom and grandma make it (and some other family friends too), and remembering when I started helping a little bit. I remembered making it a few years ago with my mom and Allison for the first time together in our apartment in Minnesota. This year, it was just Allison and I making it as we talked with some friends in Texas via Skype and heard their exciting stories. Allison recalled the stories of her family and Lefse too, including the story of her Lefse stick and her connection to her great grandma.
There’s a lot more I could unpack about story here, but for this exercise we all have these things in our life that connect us to our past and have helped shape who we are. What things, activities, or experiences that you have been doing lately remind you of your stories and the stories of your loved ones?
Advent is a time of stories. It’s a time of remembering God’s promises and trusting and hoping for the fulfillment of them. This weekend many in worship will hear the words of Zechariah’s Prophecy, including this beautiful closing:
“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” – Luke 1:78-79
It’s a beautiful story, a living story. Spend some time with the whole prophecy which Zechariah shares upon being filled with the Holy Spirit, and having his voice return. Inspired by the words of Zechariah, my prayer today is that Lord Jesus come soon. Bring light to this weary world, our guide our ways towards peace and love. Amen.