As I stated last month, this Advent’s challenge was finding time to prepare my own heart for the Christ child. Gone were the regular rhythms that were so familiar to me at Grace. St. Nicholas Day and Lessons & Carols did not provide the same ardor in my strange, new environment as they had in my old, familiar, comfortable environs. Ironically, when we “lose” our traditions, we have an opportunity to discover which ones truly have meaning and “why”. “Spiritual self-care” has been an important piece to reflect upon this Advent. In addition to the “losses”, the need to be intentional regarding preparation found me thinking of Father Karl, Deacons Mike and Michele, Bishop Matt and Presiding Bishop Curry: How do THEY find time to prepare their own hearts while they’re busy assisting the rest of us with preparations? I don’t have any good answers yet, but awareness is the first step. Please join me in praying for our church leadership that their hearts may continually be refilled by the Spirit in order that they may assist the hearts of the Church.
As to my own preparations, a good example of how some of my friends and I attempted to “make time” happened when we went to the Alexandria Scottish Christmas Parade. We had a paper due based on our reading of Leander Keck’s “Who is Jesus?” book for our New Testament class. There really wasn’t “time” to go to a parade; we knew we’d have to get there early and we knew it would take even longer to get back to campus. However, we also recognized that we needed time away from “The Hill” to refresh our spirits. So four of us ventured off at 9AM on a Saturday morning knowing that we wouldn’t get back home till after 2PM. However, it was the best day! We found our spot early and pulled out our books to read. As the day progressed, we chatted about what was bubbling up in our hearts based on what we’d read. What emerged from that day were four very different papers; each inspired and given life thanks to our recognition that the soul needs nourishment AND refreshment.
The semester is over now. There is another around the corner. While I am home in Sheboygan, there are responsibilities to tend to. Yet, just like that day at the parade, I realize that there must also be time for soul nourishment and refreshment. The lesson I take from this past December is that “Done is Good” especially if being finished with an assignment is because I am seeking to be intentional regarding spiritual nourishment instead of “perfection” of whatever task is at hand. I must make time for Him and for fellowship; the things that nourish the soul.
As we look to the new year, let us remember that God calls each of us to be intentional about time spent with Him “so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:20). In my heart, I will take our time spent together in celebration of His birth back to seminary with me this January as a source of refreshment. (Plus, the refreshed memory of the sweet fragrance that is found at Grace when one walks through the door. Incense is not absent from VTS, but it isn’t the same.)
Keeping you all in my prayers and asking yours for Kaleigh, and me. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
By His Love, Bobbi Kraft