Wednesday, 11 November 2015
Some days, I feel like theres just not enough space. Space to think. Space to breathe. Space to be patient. Space to grow. Space to trust. Space to celebrate. How do we create space? I think the answer is in the word ‘less.’ In John 3:30 we read, “He must become greater; I must become less.” He must become greater. I must become less.
This past week we set up our Christmas tree. A little early, I know. But there’s something about having it up early that I just love. Having a tree in your home is kind of a funny thing, if you think about it. And then, to top it off, we put lights on this tree in our home and we decorate it? If you think about it, it is a little strange. And it had me wondering recently, where did this tradition begin?
I read up on it and discovered this:
“It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.” (http://www.history.com/topics/christmas/history-of-christmas-trees).
A man takes a moment to look up at the stars, notices their beauty amidst the evergreens and decides to recreate this moment of awe for his family, in their home. This simple act turned into a tradition that still is very much alive today.
As we approach the sacred season of Advent, I am aware that, most years, the days leading up to Christmas are full. This year, I want it to be different. Instead of feeling rushed and stressed and busy, I want to have a quiet, joyful, in awe heart before the Lord. I recognize that in order to do this, I need more space. The question is, how do I make Him greater, and how do I become less? Becoming less doesn’t mean we boycott gifts, say no to family functions, and become the grinches who stole Christmas. Becoming less, I think, looks a lot like Martin Luther did. The story says he was walking home, writing a sermon. I’m sure he was feeling distracted or maybe even burdened on this walk. But instead of keeping his gaze downward, he turned it up. Towards the stars, the evergreens, the heavens. He noticed the beauty and basked in it. And then he recreated it for the ones he loved.
May our hearts be turned towards you in each moment of this Advent season. May we not become distracted by the burdens and weights that often overtake our hearts during this season. Instead, may we be so enamoured with the miracle of your Son, Jesus, coming to earth to save us, that we notice the beauty in lit-up trees, in giving and receiving gifts, in baking cookies and singing carols and smelling turkey. May it all be a sweet offering of praise to you. I pray that you, Holy Spirit, would enable us to make the space we need in our hearts to worship you. In your precious name we pray, Amen.
Posted by Amanda Michelle Birnie