Today is Christmas Eve. And I find myself anticipating...well - busyness, chaos, lots of singing, acting, music, eating, presents, noise, family, friends, joyful sounds, excitement, driving and, again, busyness. Our sanctuary is filled with poinsettias and Christmas banners and nativity scenes, candles and words. We will have 2 vocal choirs, 3 small music groups, bells, a brass choir, organ and piano solos as well as traditional Christmas carolling. We will have preservice music, then a service, then more preservice music, and another service. Two pastors, two congregations, two organists, two music directors, lots of volunteers, Santa, Jesus, children, adults, readers, singers, etc, etc, etc all joining together in joyful, planned, full worship. And it will be glorious and fun. We will end it all with candles and quiet, only to be awaken from that by a rousing postlude of "joy to the world". It's the happiest time of the year.
Under it all, I find myself anticipating something else. I strive to sit in quiet each day for at least fifteen minutes during all of this busyness. It doesn't always happen, but that is my goal. To sit. To listen. To breathe. And as I do that I find that underneath the anxiety, the stress, the worry, the joy, the planning, the activities and the anticipation of more movement and business, that there is something more. Something that is waiting. When I am still I find myself waiting, watching, praying, and hoping. I find myself searching for, and anticipating forgiveness, reconciliation, healing... peace.
I can't make those things happen. But I know that God can. And I know that God chooses those things as well. God, too, wants forgiveness, reconciliation, healing within each person, between individuals, between communities, around the world. Our Prince of Peace wants those things for all of us. Often we can be part of creating those things, often we are necessary to be part of creating those things. But sometimes the most we can do is choose to enter the world with peace in our hearts, and choose to be open and offering at all times of those things to all we encounter, and even to the spirits of those we never meet face to face. We can welcome into our hearts forgiveness, reconciliation, healing... peace. And pray to embody those things in the world.
Sometimes these qualities are things I only strive for and not characteristics or ways of being in the world that I easily embody.
But this Christmas Eve I wait, watch, search for and anticipate their coming. I trust that God is bringing them. And I will look with eyes open for ways to be part of that, in my own life and in the world.