December 10, 2012 § Leave a comment
The second candle is the candle of preparation, or the Bethlehem Candle.
(Clearly I am not prepared, as I am one day behind again, and still without an advent wreath. Sigh.)
But more importantly, at least, here is my time for reflection. And so I’m thinking: how do I prepare my heart for a King? I have been planning many events lately, and spending much time making spaces open and warm and inviting. I want to welcome people into a place that was carefully prepared for them. This is too easy an analogy, and I’m almost laughing to myself – I have read so many devotionals, growing up well-churched, and I know where this is going. Still, I’m going to say it. If our hearts/spirits are where the Holy One ultimately dwells, then what sort of place do we want them to be, that He might be welcome there?
And yet. I remember a baby born in a stable. A stable! In a not-very-noteworthy town called Bethlehem. Why of all things should this be a part of the story? Those of you who know me are well aware that I love animals and barns, straw, hay, horses. I like hanging out in these places. But I don’t know that I want to sleep there, at least not outside of an emergency. Even when they are tidy, stables are rough and often dirty and smelly. They are not perfect. So it makes me think: that even as we want to prepare our hearts, we don’t have to have them be perfect and pristine so much as open. We might be a bit rough around the edges, but He will reside anywhere He is welcome. And He will become the light in that space.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”