Yesterday, I spent some time quietly decorating my home for the winter season. With my parents’ move and my daughter’s independence journeying with me into Advent, I just haven’t felt motivated to prepare my home.
Each year, one of my favorite activities is setting out the white ceramic creche. I carefully unwrap each piece and place it gently on top of the Hoosier cabinet. Accompanied by tiny lights and greenery, it is something to behold in the dark night.
This December, however, I couldn’t bring myself to set it up. It’s still sitting in the storage nook under the stairs. Instead, I pulled out a small, colorful Nativity scene that I collected myself several years ago. I had seen it in a Hallmark store and fell in love with the characters’ faces, especially Mary’s.
As I set it up on the small shelf with the stained glass window, I noticed how the blue diamond in the glass took on the appearance of the star above the manger. It was unexpected and quite lovely.
After placing the first few figures, I came to the shepherd with the broken hand. He can no longer carry his crook so I have to prop it up on his shoulder. With space limited by the window and the length of the shelf, I had to nestle the shepherd right on the edge. I realized if I arranged him just so, his broken hand would be hidden.
When I stepped back for a moment, that shepherd caught my eye. He appears to be coming around the corner of the window as if peering in humbly at this wondrous birth. He looks like he’s chosen to step back and watch the event from afar–waiting patiently, taking it all in, and perhaps pondering a few things in his heart.
I feel like that shepherd in this year of transition. As I journey into the next stage of my life, I am waiting patiently and taking it all in. I fondly cherish memories of Christmases past and look forward to the traditions yet to come. I delight in what it will be like as midlife brings with it its own hopes and joys, love and peace.
This year, I honor that I am finding the sacred space of Advent at the edge of the stable–it is there I’ll wait for new life and light.