On the cusp

"The darling of the world is come..." R. Herrick

I say this every year, but how I wish that I could freeze time. Just now, in this very moment. Still on the sweet, breathless cusp of it all, with the days stretching out in gilded promise, glitter sparkling behind the closed doors of the Advent calendar and fresh bits of holly and greens appearing throughout my house by the day.

I’ve been making gingerbread cookies for the Christmas tree today, and weaving delightfully wonky little cedar wreaths for my kitchen windows. I cut a branch of holly I’ve been eyeing for weeks for the arrangement I always put on the big Empire chest in our bedroom and I ironed my rather tattered but dearly-loved silk ribbons and tied them on the arms of the chandelier in huge, drooping bows.

My fingers are marked with the battle scars of encounters with prickly greens, and even that seems a thing to rejoice in.

Soon the memories and tender joys of this Christmas will join the ranks of all the loved Christmases past. But I am determined to keep this precious time with all my heart, even as it flies. My heart’s deep prayer as I enter into this most sacred season is that I will just love my Savior well in all this happy hullabaloo of preparation. I crave a spirit like that of Brother Lawrence, who made a life practice of acknowledging the presence of Christ and lifting all tasks to Him even in the doing of them.

The time of business does not differ with me from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen…I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were on my knees.

That is my ambition, by the grace of God: to prepare my heart and my home for the coming of Love itself.

Happy waiting, dear friends…

"To do Him honor, who's our King, and Lord of all this reveling..." R. Herrick

10 Responses to “On the cusp”

  1. Joanna says:

    I always love the pictures of your Christmas greenery. I have yet to collect some for my house, but I have a bunch of wonderfully redolent eucalyptus in my dining room. It makes me smile when I walk by it. And is there any more mellow beauty than a sunset during Advent? Watching the twilight these last few evenings has had me in awe.

    • Lanier Ivester says:

      I agree, Joanna–I always try and pause right about five o’clock during Advent just to savor the light and the beauty.

      Then, of course, there are the December dawns. Fills me right up with glory. :)

  2. Mark Cook says:

    you captured with words the beauty of anticipating Christmas, Lanier. And I love the Brother Lawrence reference. He is quite the prophet of old for our busyness-obsessed culture. thanks for your writing, keep it up.

  3. Holly says:

    Oh, YAY! I LOVE your Christmas/Advent posts! I look forward to them all year! Keep going! :)

  4. Meredith says:

    The tension of busy, enjoyable times against wanting to pause to reflect on God’s goodness and grace in sending His Son to earth a baby, to die on a cross a man and be raised to eternal life, that we too might have eternal life with Him. Christmas is upon us. Rejoice!

    Thank you for your beautiful Christmas posts. Like Holly, I love them and look forward to them all year.

  5. Katy says:

    I had never heard of Brother Laurence before I read this post – would you be able to let me know any titles of his books?

    I love reading about your Christmas preparations – so far we only have the tree up but I’m going to decorate the Front Room mantlepiece with holly and my mother’s Matrushka dolls this evening. At the moment it’s snowing here in the Scottish Hills where I work – a very slow drive to work this morning but I find I can’t be annoyed with this rare white beauty.

    Here’s to a Merry Christmas and I hope you and Philip have a wonderful advent.

    • Lanier Ivester says:

      Katy, Brother Lawrence was a Carmelite monk, and his only book is called The Practice of the Presence of God. It was actually complied after his death and is a record of his intimate relationship with God. One of my all-time favorites.

      Thank you for the Christmas wishes! Happy Christmas to you, in lovely Scotland! :)

  6. lynn says:

    What a lovely blog you have. And your handmade books — wow. You can tell they are a labor of love. Well done.

  7. Kiersti says:

    So beautiful…thank you. Your blog is one of my favorites to visit during Advent, as it always turns my heart to the anticipation, the joy, the waiting…to Him. I love how you keep Christmas.

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