Learning Grace in the Advent…

I’ve become the neighbor I loathe. And it grieves me. Deeply. In all the rush to usher Christmas in early this year for the adulting child who only gets one trip home, I failed to usher out the old… Days into the twelfth month, I discover pumpkins at the back stoop. Pumpkins left out. Left out, nonetheless, by me. Past the season of pumpkins. Past the Thanksgiving holiday…

Usually by this time of year, Bully has a red velvet bow and a fresh, evergreen wreath hangs on the door greeting guests as they enter. Caught up in the newness of trips to the airport and Thanksgivemas, I graciously grant myself grace upon revelation and decide to forego the usual tradition (at least at this point of entry.) My transgression, after all, is only a side door unseen from the main street. Also, mind you, it isn’t Easter as one house so egregiously offends season after season. But it is the lavish lashing of words I’ve ungraciously bestowed on my unbeknownst neighbor, over and over again, as my family can attest, that stops me cold in my tracks this day. A moment of self-discovery. I am guilty. Where was the grace for my neighbor? A lesson I’m learning in the Advent…

When should Christmas be rushed in and seasons of old rushed out? As always, so many opinions. One uptick for the ‘rushing in’ of Christmas… the slowing of Advent. Slowing affords us precious time for introspective conversations and an opportunity to re-learn the lesson. Slowing reminds us of the first Christmas. God’s gift of salvation to the world wrapped in swaddling clothes. Grace. 

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,

(and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the

Father,) full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14

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Three days later and still not having made the annual pilgrimage to the trash, forgotten pumpkins continue to flank my door. I’ve decided to leave them ‘til weekend. They no longer offend me but gently remind me… Grace. Unmerited favor. The forgotten lesson. I think, I’ll replace them with a new bow for Bully.