It was a week ago now that we were entering a beautiful fall day in Kansas, filled with sunny blue skies and temperatures in the 60’s.  Twenty-four hours later, we would be busily preparing for a real-life-national-weather service-dubbed blizzard.  Only in Kansas.  Where there is no place like home.

The day of Blizzard 2018 for our family was divided into two parts.  Before the storm hit was a busy season of preparation, as we worked outside to get everyone at our hobby farm, Luna Acres, all set up with cozy spaces to go to before the storm arrived.  Earlier in the week, we had driven up to the family place of one of our church members to pick up hog houses her mom generously gave us, as we are getting our pasture pig venture off the ground. We got those in place and filled with hay, finished up some fencing projects we had been tackling that week, and hauled fire wood up to the house.

We also had to MacGyver protection of our winter hay as the wind was tearing down the tarps on our hoop house that have been needing replaced.  It was a busy few hours of activity that morning, as we worked to get everything checked off the list.  We were packing up our tools and supplies right around 10:30am, as the first droplets of ice started to fall from the sky.

Once we made it inside, things changed dramatically, as we slowed down and took in the gift of a day of rest with our family.  There were games to play, good movies to watch together, a fire to warm up with, and yummy food cooked up creatively with what we had on hand.
We watched from the windows as our animals settled into their shelters as the storm rolled in and later in the day, when it was feeding time, things had calmed enough that we got out and joined them as they ventured out to play in the white wonderland. We finally had the chance to test out our two sledding hills.  I learned that you can really go fast when you let two 60+ pound livestock guardian puppies pull you, like horses with a sleigh.  It was a beautiful day of rest, play, and time to connect as a family.
As we head into the Christmas season, there are plenty of preparations before us.  There are gifts to buy, presents to wrap, trees to decorate, stockings to hang, cookies to bake, meals to plan, parties to attend – the list could go on and on.  Tomorrow, a different kind of season of preparation begins, for tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent.  Advent is a season of waiting, of growing expectation, of anticipation – not for what Santa Claus will bring down our chimneys – but for what the advent of the Christ child into our world, into our lives, into our hearts and minds and souls will mean for you and for I and for all.
Y’all it’s not about the stuff.  Even though the top shelf of my closet has plenty of items on wish lists hidden away awaiting to be wrapped, the gift of this season is not about the stuff.  It’s about love come down to us.  Love that shows up on each of our doorsteps waiting to fill our homes and hearts and lives until they are overflowing.  Love that is freely given.  Love, that when we let it in, we are propelled to share.  Love that is at the heart of what it means to exist in this world.  Love that has always and forever will be the true purpose of our life together here.  Love of God, love of Christ, love of self, love of neighbor, neighbor near, neighbor far, love, love, love.

We don’t want to miss it.  We don’t want to let it get covered up with all the hustle and bustle, all the tinsel and lights, all the bows and wrapping paper – all the stuff that threatens to fill these days with so much distraction that we forget what the point of them was in the first place. So, we need to prepare.  We need to prepare for the one who will stand at our door and knock – longing for us to let him in, for he knows that when we do, hope and peace and joy and love will come with him.

Starting tomorrow, I’ll post a daily devotional that I have adapted from a small book with a big message, written by Ben Johnson, a former Presbyterian Pastor and Seminary Professor. These devotions will carry us through the Season of Advent, into the twelve days of Christmas, all the way up to Epiphany day on January 6th.  They will help you and I prepare – prepare to let the One who stands at the door and knocks into our lives, our hearts and minds and souls in these days.

I hope you will join us on the journey – both here online and in worship if you are local at Heritage Presbyterian Church (15550 S. Blackbob Rd. Olathe, KS 66062).  We worship on Sundays at 10:30am with our traditional service and at 5pm with our alternative Harvest Table service.

“Listen! I stand at the door and knock; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you and you with me.”
Revelation 3:20

Copy of Copy of Advent Morning Bulletin Cover 1

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