We’re now in the second week of Advent and I’m enjoying a new image every day as I open a door on my nativity story Advent calendar.
Such a sense of anticipation and excitement: What will be behind today’s door? What will it add to the story? Should I open it quickly: the sooner to reveal the image, or slowly: to prolong the reliving of childhood excitement at this daily activity?
Each image is a representation of a small part of the journey through Advent towards Christmas; a fleeting glimpse of one bit of the story.
I love the momentary glimpses into other lives I get from the window of a train carriage when passing through a residential area. I find it really difficult to understand how other passengers can work on a laptop or bury themselves in a book while commuting; even allowing for work pressures and the tedium of having to make the same journey each day.
Though I do sometimes carry a book or pick up a free newspaper at a station, I inevitably put it aside to look out of the window, especially on a journey after dark when the windows of the trackside homes are lit up.
I love the constantly changing ‘slide show’ as one small scene of someone else’s life is replaced by another equally fleeting, but still fascinating one, of someone else’s.
If the train stops at a signal, while seasoned commuters in the carriage complain, I rejoice, as any delay gives me precious extra seconds to invent stories for the people I can see through the windows of the apartments and houses.
If they’re eating, what are they eating? If ironing, who are they ironing for? If reading, what are they reading? Is their reading for homework or study? What are they studying?
Getting glimpses of other peoples’ lives is endlessly fascinating and if those glimpses are part of a journey we’re on, how much more so.
During Advent we’re given tiny glimpses (both visually and in words) into some of the greatest journeys ever undertaken: Mary’s to visit Elizabeth; Mary and Joseph’s to reach Bethlehem; the shepherds to Bethlehem; the Maji to the Emperor; the Maji from the Emperor to Bethlehem.
For most of these journeys we have to imagine many of the details for ourselves: for example, the thoughts and emotions of those travellers and how these may have changed during their journeys.
As I continue opening the doors of my Advent calendar and enjoying the occasional view through other peoples’ windows from a train, how wonderful it is to know that God is always looking into our lives; not just occasionally glancing through an open window in passing but seeing, understanding and becoming part of our story, completely, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing during Advent and far beyond it.
How wonderful to know that He’s endlessly interested in and fascinated by whatever I’m doing, what each of us is doing. How wonderful to be known in that way.