Years ago we visited the showroom of an amazing craftsman. His showroom was only open during daylight hours as it used natural lighting to best show off his fascinating pieces. We arrived early in the morning, late in the spring. Frogs and birds were singing and the sky was brilliantly blue. Our eyes accustomed to the light as we stepped out of the brightness of the morning into the muted light of his studio and walked the length of it in silence. Raphael unlocked the massive carved door into his shop.
Smelling fresh wood we stepped into the darkened room. Raphael walked over to the first window, unlatched an antique looking wrought iron hook and swung open the heavy, rustic wood shutters. Sunlight streamed into the room creating visible rays on the dust our footsteps had caused to fill the air and lighting the vibrant reds and greens and yellows of his hand tied brooms. Shutter after shutter swung open in the same theatrical fashion as we stood awestruck by the beauty and simplicity of the room. The only sound was the cracking of ice as Raphael poured home made mint tea into the chilled jug on the rough cut wood table in the center of the room. The Radiance of the Ordinary.
Few times in my life compare with the beauty or insight of that moment – and yet it was the simplest of events – a visit with a friend, the drinking of ice tea, the purchase of a broom.
Recently the sight, smell and sense of wonder of that morning returned as I read, “What if, instead of thinking we had to choose between and ordinary life and an extraordinary life, we began to realize they’re the same thing?” in Emily P. Freeman’s “Small Moment Living in a Fast Moving World” book Simply Tuesday.
Today we enter into the first Sunday of Advent. The season of waiting. The season that invites us to live simply in preparation for the coming of the Christ child. The season that invites us to notice, to be present, to create, and to love and to be prepared to be loved.
Today is a homecoming. A return to the beginning of the church calendar year. A new retelling of the old, old story. A reset. A fresh start.
Today we enter through the muted workshop and wait in wonder for the shutters to be thrown back and the light to stream in on the most ordinary yet extraordinary of events – the birth of a child.
Ruth Haley Barton writes “There are very few places where the soul is truly safe, where the knowing, the questions, the longings of the soul are welcomed, received, and listened to …” Advent is one of these rare places.