Accuse me of mixing metaphors or myths if you will, but I have been wondering if perhaps we should only find one in every two stockings filled with gifts on Christmas morning.
My theme of waiting during this month has been, I admit, a religious exercise. We 'wait' for the 4 liturgical weeks of Advent, before the birth of Jesus is celebrated on Christmas day. I have tried to keep my Advent practice simple and real; every day I have kept an eye out for something that speaks of waiting, in any context within my ordinary daily life. The things that I have noticed and reflected on have spoken to me of friendship and belonging, slowness and quietness, place and time, gifts and surprises ... and more. If you are reading this I assume you will have seen my pictures and read some of my thoughts. It has been mundane, genuine, and, for me (perhaps even for you), enjoyable and helpful.
But this is only part of the story.
And here's my 'stockings theory':
The waiting that Christians use as a spiritual practice in December every year is not only about preparation for a baby's birthday party. We are also reminding ourselves of how time moves through history in a bigger arc than only the changing of the seasons and the turning of the years. We live with a trustful interpretation of the evidence around us that from the start to the end of time (13.8 billion notches on the winter solstice stick so far) there is a story being written that has meaning for us, and that offers significance to life in the universe. This includes that there was, and is, source of life; there is a happy reason for our continued existence; and there is a hope-filled prospect of a very very very good ending to it all.
(Do I need to name names?)
It would therefore make sense - would it not? - that while one of our stockings will by tomorrow morning be full to overflowing with gifts, one must remain un-filled. Christmas has come, but we will continue to wait, with quiet, persevering and hopeful expectation, for the fulfillment of all our dreams and longings in a wonder-full Happily Ever After.
Happy Christmas, and a happy new year to you!