One of the ways our family walks the Advent path is with an Advent calendar. This is not like a desk calendar with pages. We have a number of different ways of counting the days. One of the first we used when our boys were very small was by reading a story from a Little Golden Book every night. The book came with its own cardboard triptych, a fold out replica of Bethlehem, with shuttered windows that could be opened to reveal a symbol inside. Our children loved opening the tiny windows and first listening, then reading the part of the story the symbol represented. One of our sons and his wife gave us one that is a box, a stack of small drawers that can be opened each day.
Today is the 4th day of Advent, and this is the Advent “keeper” or calendar I used this morning during my quiet time. It is a little A frame shape box with hinged sides that fold shut and latch. There are tiny hooks for small figures to attach representing a different character in the nativity story for each day. When I look at these 4 figures, it seems they are all shepherds, young shepherd girls and boys. As I scattered the remaining figures, thinking of the days ahead, I thought how these had lives that were tremendously interrupted by the story of Christ’s coming – the shepherds, most certainly Mary and Joseph, and even the animals who shared their stall (there are cows and sheep to hang on hooks, too) – all were divinely interrupted and all had lives were changed forever in ways they previously could never have imagined..I wonder if I am open to such interruption, to being unsettled.. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said “We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.” I
“Lord, the calendar calls for Christmas. We have traveled this way before.During this Advent season we would see what we have never seen before, accept what we have refused to think, and hear what we understand. Be with us in our goings that we may meet you in your coming…” ~ The Unsettling Season, by Donald J. Shelby