I am an Advent snob. I like Advent music separate from Christmas music. I like Advent thoughts separate from Christmas thoughts. But I am not opposed to Christmas cookies anytime!
Those are Luke's favorite Christmas cookies, Cran-Orange Icebox Cookies. He gets his favorite because I like them too AND they are stinking easy/fast to make. The tea is Lemon Lift because it reminds me of a dear, dear friend with whom I would love to be sitting this afternoon.
So in celebration of the third week of Advent, Luke got some new Advent ties (made by his gorgeous and talented wife) which he received as he was walking into last night's Lessons and Carols service (so he didn't get to wear them). Bummer. But, I did get them done.
This week is about joy. The pink candle. I know the whole holiday season is about being happy and celebrating, but I think joy is different. Joy is deeper than being happy. Luke preached on Mary's Magnificat yesterday. Mary understood joy. She chose to sing. She was a social outcast and her very life depended on the mercy of her fiancee. She chose to sing. She was a child who was to give birth to a child who was to bring a Gospel of Children. And she chose to sing. A shred of good news brought to the poor, the unnoticed, the unwed mothers, the adulterers, and the children. If you want to see joy--real joy--spend time with children. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God belongs to children, and wise, experienced, knowledgeable adults must become like children to enter into this Kingdom. What does that mean?
Every once in a while life overcomes me and the tears come. Sometimes those moments happen during the day which means my kids see their mother turn into a puddle. Laine immediately stops what he is doing and puts his face right in mine, puts his small hands on my weakened shoulders and says, "Mommy, what's wrong?" He stops everything to care. Then he offers me something deeply personal as an article of comfort. Sometimes it is a hug. Sometimes a toy. Once, a piggy (back) ride (giggle). What matters is that he truly cares about me. Kids get it. Life is about loving each other. Of course they mostly love themselves, but when it matters, they really get it.
The Kingdom of God is not about not loving yourself, it is about finding deep joy in God's love and allowing that love to flow to others. When God brings hurt to our attention, we must welcome them into the Kingdom through love. There is not one person who does not receive God's love. Children do not come into the world with emotional baggage. They do not respect status or success. They love with arms wide open.