One of my jobs at church is historical chairman. The chief duty of that post is to create seasonal displays. To equip myself for that, I have made a study of the seasons of the Christian church. Just so you’ll know, if you care to and don’t already, they are: 1) Advent, 2) Christmastide, 3) Season of Epiphany, 4) Lent, 5) Eastertide, and 6) the Sundays after Pentecost (aka Ordinary Time.) As the seasons roll on, my aim is to offer evocative images of our Jewish-Christian-Methodist heritage. As each new season approaches, I leap like a deer to create something that best distills one person’s 65 years of strong attraction to that heritage and her evolving reflection thereon.
This fall, as I thought about the upcoming season of Advent, the image that sprang to my mind was deer. In our Bible, deer are often employed to suggest the ardent quest of the soul for the Holy One. I put out the word for decorative deer, and they began to make their way into the gathering area at my house.
So, I will now take you on a tour.
Let us pause at the deer above. I bought that deer at Ellis Pottery several years ago; a friend had one, and the moment I saw hers, I wanted one of my own. I brought it home and placed it on our kitchen island. When my husband looked up from his paper the next morning and noticed it, he was startled. He asked, “Why is that carcass on the island?” Well, my intention was husbandly happiness, not consternation, so I moved the deer to another place! Recently the deer travelled away from our home, on a mission. It was invited to represent the Big Thicket Association in a fall display at Shangri-la Botanical Garden. It was gone a month or so, arriving home just in time to be packed up and taken to church for the Advent display.
Okay, we’re walking, we’re walking…
The deer on this wreath are precious to me. Long-ago gift from my mother, of blessed memory. Enough said.
The excellent deer above belongs to my friend and will have to go home to her. Eventually.
I thought the words above offer a good expression of the spirit of Advent. In one sense, we’re already in the Reign of God. Why else would our hearts be yearning and aching for it? People sitting in darkness long for light. Because they know it exists.
I thought a waiting manger would work some good work on our hearts. When we roll over to Christmastide, I will replace it with the Holy Family.
And by the way, a child was born yesterday. And you can believe that when my son rolled him out of the delivery room for viewing, I leapt like a deer to behold his face:
“What IS this place??? Oh. Hi Daddy.”