My family will attest: I enjoy having people over. I enjoy cooking and serving and spending time with friends in the comfort of my own home.
My family will also attest: In the last hour before company arrives, more often than not I transform into a dragon.
I could blame the family but, truth, it’s me. I’m a mess. I lack the gene for good organizational systematizing and tidying. Even at my home’s cleanest, you can still find stacks of things to be filed or sorted. I hope you can ignore them as well as I do.
Show up day or night, and I will gladly welcome you in and bite my tongue trying not to apologize for this mess. Because apologies only draw attention, and you didn’t come over to admire my housekeeping.
The more comfortable I am with you, the more comfortable I will be letting you see my mess. If it’s your first time over or we haven’t been friends very long, if you’re Bono or Jen Hatmaker (or if I know you’re an interior designer or neat-freak), I’m going to fire-breathe more fiercely at the piles. Or hide them more carefully–laundry baskets full of all the desk contents stashed in the garage? Don’t peek!
I don’t think Jesus really cares all that much about the piles on my desk or in my closets, except as they reflect the chaos in my soul. I think He cares a lot about what’s going on in there, though. And sadly, I’m often as messy on the inside as the outside.
Last week I had a cool opportunity to work serving food/drink at an event celebrating people using their gifts, resources and experiences to make the Bay Area a better place to live. Their projects ranged from early childhood literacy, to offering dignity (and food) to homeless people, to services for those in abusive relationships or seniors who desire to age in place, and sailing the Bay with at-risk teens and police officers.
I got teary with inspiration, and wondered, What do I do to make my community a better place? Sure, I volunteer here and there. I do my best to be a good neighbor. I try to love my family well. It adds up to something, but is that enough?
Making our communities a better place to live, noticing those who make our communities a better place, seems to be a great way to anticipate the King. So I’ve been pondering and praying, evaluating my activities and noticing others’.
Yesterday we took Tween with us to run some errands. He was a good sport about it, and I gave him an appreciative hug. As we waited to exit the crowded Costco parking lot, a guy sat on the curb, snuggling his dog, and holding a sign indicating that they were homeless.
Not my proudest moment: I turned my face.
My proudest moment: My kiddo didn’t.
He said, “Hey, can I get out? I want to give that man the $2 in my wallet.”
He grabbed his money and the door handle as I choked back tears. I watched the man’s face as he earnestly looked my boy in the eyes and thanked him for the help.
Tween got back in the car, lamenting that the line of cars hadn’t been longer so he could have spent more time talking to the man and petting his dog.
Another not-proud moment: As we drove away, I realized I had $4 in my purse. I hadn’t given it to the man who truly needed it, but I immediately handed it to my surprised son.
I wanted him to understand that sometimes when you give, you get more in return than you’d have expected. He received genuine thanks from the man, and he received more money than he’d given away. And I got another lesson in how much I have to learn about anticipating the King.
Week 2 – Anticipating the King
Read and light two candles (purple): The first candle represents the Child of the Virgin. The second candle represents the King.
Say aloud together: Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Read Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10
Read: We plan appropriately when we expect company, picking up the house and preparing refreshments. When we anticipate the arrival of someone important, we might also brush up on discussion topics or customs which will make our guest feel more comfortable. So too as we anticipate the Root of Jesse, the coming King, we clean up our hearts and faithfully commit ourselves to His righteous ways.
Pray: We anticipate the coming of our King Jesus and pray in His name, Amen.
Monday 1 Samuel 8:6-7 How can you honor God as your king today?
Tuesday Psalm 24:8 What battle do you need the King to fight for you?
Wednesday Psalm 145:10-13 What mighty acts has your King done for you?
Thursday Isaiah 6:1-5 Draw a picture of this scene and talk to God about it as you draw.
Friday Mark 1:14-15 How would you explain the good news of God’s kingdom?Saturday 1 Timothy 1:17 What other words could you use to describe your King?