Sunday, December 2, 2012

Falling Out of a Car

Falling out of a Car
With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him ... to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1: 17 NRSV

For most people in our Western culture, we come upon Christmas suddenly and without a lot of preparation. The world around us really tries to just drop us in the middle of the season. Shelves in the stores go from school supplies to Christmas trees in the blink of an eye. And no one waits for December, let alone November to drop us into Christmas.

It is as though we have fallen out of a car into a busy Christmas intersection.

My family has a strange history of falling out of cars. When my mother was six years old, she was riding in the car with her father. In the 1930s children rode in the front and no one wore seat belts. You can imagine what happened when my mother began playing with the door handle: she managed to open the door and fall out onto the pavement. Thank goodness my grandfather was not going very fast! But before he had time to stop the car, some women came running out of their homes asking whose she was. My grandfather marched up, swept her up and said, “She’s mine,” and walked away. I don’t think anyone ever told my grandmother what happened although she must have wondered why the door handle had been cut off on the passenger side of the car.

Then just this past summer we had a small incident with our dog. We take our medium sized dog, Yuki, for a daily walk in another neighborhood. On this particular day, she was in the front seat with her paws on the doorframe and her face out of the window. I was in the back and did not realize that the window was all the way rolled down – we normally only rolled it down 3⁄4 of the way. As Ed turned left in the extremely busy intersection, Yuki fell out of the window. I very maturely began screaming, “My God! Yuki!” at the top of my lungs while trying to extricate myself from the moving vehicle. Thank goodness no one hit Yuki – or me—while I chased her across the road. She now sits in the back with the windows carefully rolled so she can only get her head out of the opening. We have yet to figure out the dog harness/seat belt we have purchased but that day is not long in coming.

Christmas can be like falling out of the car – surprising, unexpected, overwhelming, and not a little frightening. Many of us find ourselves running around yelling in not so mature manners. In the end, we find ourselves taking drastic measures – for instance when we get our credit card bills in January.
But the season of Advent – the days of preparation to prepare for the coming of the Christ child in our lives – should be a time when we avoid all that dropping and falling. Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for Christmas. Advent helps us to take our time, enjoy the scenery, and arrive on the 25th relaxed and spiritually whole.

God, please keep me from falling into Christmas. Help me to use this devotional book and special time with you each day so that I am prepared in my heart and my head for your son’s special celebration. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Rev. Amelia Sims

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