When Advent began I told my son Dale that my goal this season was to follow the star- just like the wise men did. At times I have questioned whether indeed I am following but I have gained some new insights that have encouraged me as I head into the New Year,
It is intriguing to note that to follow the direction of the stars it must be dark in my surroundings. It is virtually impossible to see the stars except at night. So God has allowed some darkness to fall in my life- he has allowed questions to remain unanswered and directions to appear obscure. I have had moments of tremendous insight followed by pits of despair. I feel so confused but I remember to look up, and the bright star guides me. When the clouds dim its light I stop and rest, waiting until I can see my way ahead.
One day God showed me how much of my life was spent looking ahead- getting to the end of this day, or thinking about being relieved when this particular obligation was met- and I humbly asked for forgiveness. The kingdom of God is here now, and the moment to embrace is this one. I was missing out on the joy of the precious moments of today because I was worrying about tomorrow. I don't want to do that anymore, but all I can do is ask God for his grace to live now.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my job as photographer for Santa photos at the nearby outdoor Promenade shops. This past year God's light has lead me back to a great love of mine- photography. It is yet another way to embrace a moment and capture it. When I look through a camera lens I see amazing possibilities, angles, lighting. When I choose to view the life around me that way I see the same- great opportunities to live and laugh and love and to share that with others. Isn't that the true spirit of Christmas?
The next few days of my advent reflections are a short story. Last year when I had compiled all the other days writings I came to the last few days and drew a blank- and asked God, so what do I do now? The still small voice spoke subtly- write a story. I had the name for my main character shortly after that, and it flowed from there. The story is purposely ambiguous at the end because I wanted all that read it to realize that when God begins something new in our lives, or leads us in a new direction, we don't often have too many details. We simply trust our hearts. That is always enough.
Funnily enough, I am writing another short story this Christmas to share with my family on Christmas Eve. Other members of my family will also be writing stories, and I look forward to hearing theirs too. I have had a name on my heart for the main character of my new story for about 2 weeks. That is so often the way the Lord plants an idea- so quietly we almost miss it. I'm glad I paid attention because I like how this story is progressing, and it relates to one of my favorite scriptures. I will share it here on my blog on Christmas Day.