How to Wait for Christmas

Whenever Christmas begins to burden, it’s a sign that I’ve taken on something of the world and not of Christ.


The Farmer, he brings home these four miniature candles with the groceries and pecks me on the cheek. Crazy, how wonders never cease!

So I set out just these four candles — one by the sink. Atop the cabinet. Before the hearth. At the window.

And from the sink, I can see each of the four flames bold, oil lamps keeping watch.






And these four flickering wicks, they’re like these lamps keeping vigil for the Babe coming under a star.

I stand there with a grocery bag and one question: Why do I usually let the oil go out?

Why fume about Latin CDs left naked and ashamed in the study, throw up my hands when the boys rub each other wrong and I’m no Aaron or Hur and it’s my heart that grows heavy and I fall all the time and it needs to be falling in prayer and why can’t I keep watch even one hour?

Who keeps the vigil this Advent and why am I not the virgin with the lamp, vigilant for Christ?

And it comes like a lighting:

Christmas cannot be bought. Christmas cannot be created. Christmas cannot be made by hand. Christmas can only be found.

In the creche, in the cradling trough, in the mire and the stench and the unexpected and unlikely and only in the person of Christ.

Living slow is the way to carry an extra flask of oil joy for the lamp and living life slow is a way to see.

And the slower I take the days of Advent, the more places I find Christ and Christmas and the Light that warms.

The shadows lengthen.

The kids whine.

The soup burns.

And the four brazen flames burn, ready … waiting…. watching.

And it comes right in the midst, right like a kindling —

What if I laid down efforts and expectations, perfectionism and performance — and simply waited with arms and heart and eyes wide open?

Christ the Babe comes in Christmas just as Christ the Savior comes on the Cross — seeking only our embrace.

And the only thing really to wrap? Is the heart around around Him.

The Farmer, he heads out for evening barn chores.

And I stand in the mess and watch from the window. He turns and winks.

And I smile and wave, a burning heart in the midst —

and wait for his coming again, the paned glass reflecting wicks keeping bright vigil, the extra oil of joy still left out for the love that comes down.

Love that comes down and simple says come:

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That is all: Come, today. Just simply come and rest:

Christmas cannot be bought. Christmas cannot be created. Christmas cannot be made by hand.

Christmas isn’t a present to wrap, but a Person to unwrap.

Christmas can only be found — in the creche, in the cradling trough, in the mire and the stench, in the unexpected and the unlikely and only only in the person of Christ.

Christ, the babe, come