Afternoons in Advent: Do you remember “lay-away”?
The local Fred’s in our community has “lay-away”. The last time I knew about such an arrangement was in 1970 when I worked as a clerk in the Ladies Gloves and Hosiery department of a department store in Blacksburg, Virginia. Folks planned ahead in those days and often did their Christmas and holiday shopping through the deliberately intentional and economically wise process of “layaway.” You chose your item, put 10% down and made weekly payments until your purchase was complete and you took your merchandise home. It made a great deal of sense, and combined with the ready availability of Christmas Savings Accounts (remember those?) was a grand alternative to impulse buying and credit card debt. I was making $1.60 an hour in those days and both those options were god-sends to my budget.
The Season of Advent, if approached with the same degree of intention, can be an excellent Lay-Away Plan. Make a small down-payment of Christmas Spirit. Then, every day, add a little something in the way of prayer and action, and come December 24th, you’ll be in good shape. What may have been impossible in one large effort will be complete and ready for wrapping, sharing, or enjoying. You’ll have achieved what you intended, your expectations will have been realistic, and you won’t be either spiritually broke or emotionally exhausted.
This year, enjoy Advent. Make the season a journey into the great crescendo of joy that is Christmas; and do it at a gentle pace, with the grace of gratitude, and the peace of mind that will allow you to arrive at the manger with a glad and joyful heart.