Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Red Paint, Wedding Lists, and Christmas Trees

    If someone were to tell me, “Sandra, in honor of your birthday, I cut down a tree and put it up in my living room,” I would think, “Cool! Odd, but cool.” Then I most likely would lament about not getting a gift.  Very well aware that most of the ways we celebrate Jesus’ birth is based on pagan customs and traditions, I still appreciate the twists and the turns we make in them in order to connect us to Christ and prepare ourselves for His arrival. Here at camp, that idea of preparation is on the forefront of our minds this season.  As I type this, my fingers are splattered with red paint.  In the afternoons, the staff has taken on work projects around camp.  There are few guests here during this time so we take the opportunity to prepare the camp for their arrival - tearing up old carpets, repairing broken lights, putting on fresh coats of color.  Today we were painting the dining hall in Frontier Village where we hold our summer camps. Radiant red covers the bottom half of the walls (and incidentally my shoe as I happened to step into the tray.)  In the middle of the work, it is easy to become distracted, impatient and grumblesome but imagining the hall filled with campers’ laughter and the excited screams of eight year-old memory makers, the monotonous roll of the red takes on meaning.  The preparation is part of building the anticipation, focusing our hearts, and bringing us together.   
    I painted next to Chris and Cassie, our Guest Coordinator, the other day. In January, they will be married. Counting down the days until they are wed, they too have been preparing.  Some question the worth of all the time and planning that a bride puts into a day that only lasts a moment, not to mention the money that some brides pay for their dresses alone. The preparation though is not so much for the event itself but for what is ahead, a lifetime of love and partnership.   We prepare the camp not just for the arrival of the guests but for transformation where life is awakened to the joy that is ahead. We hang up lights and display decorations not just for December 25th but for what the welcoming of a Savior into our lives means not only for the here and now but for what is ahead into eternity.  Preparation builds the anticipation, focuses our hearts, and truly brings us together. 
Boom Town 2010 Chris and Cassie in the front
  I see evidence of it in the red painted walls, in wedding to-do lists, and in the trees that now stand tall in living rooms. In the gospels, Jesus reminds us to be ready, to be prepared.  Maybe the parable is told not only for what is ahead but also for the here and now – His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Perhaps He knows, and I am almost certain that He does, that preparation is good for us not just as individuals but as community, as family.  Preparation can be agonizing to say the least, but the outcome – an expounded hope, an attentive heart, an  intimate unity – is more than worthy of tree display and red paint.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! A good reminder of the deliciousness of anticipation. Drink it in as He has good plans for you!