Christmas Carols Revisited - 2

Sleep beckoned, but it was too late. My head was already rattling through the day's "to do" list, so I complied and got up before the sun.

For all there was to do, I started the day with coffee and Advent devotions at the table. Sitting there after I'd read, I picked up an orange to fill with cloves.

My friend turned me on to this Christmas tradition. She always had a bowl of oranges and cloves sitting out. I'd stop by to chat and sit there "cloving" with her. Something about it was simple and peaceful during a season where hardly anything is.

So I started cloving. My head argued, but my soul rebutted, hungry for some simplicity and peace before a hectic day.

And as I cloved, I began to pray.

There's always so much to pray for when you stop long enough to do it. Children growing into adults and all that entails provides enough fodder for prayer to make it an occupation. It hurts to watch. Hurts my soul to see them hurt and learn.

And I press the tack I use to make the holes for the cloves into the orange because the skin is too hard and consider.

How thick and tough our hearts can be. We spend a lifetime toughening them up. So we won't hurt.

The juice is sticky and messy, but it smells good. Especially with the cloves. The fragrance is really what I love about this endeavor.

Life is like that. Messy. We imagine it won't be and make our plans to avoid hurt and mess.

But the piercing of hearts can make way for the fragrance of beauty.

This line comes to mind,

"Where meek souls will receive Him still the dear Christ enters in."

Do people get that? That He came to bring peace on earth by healing hearts? That it's not a sappy platitude but a real possibility?

Christmas is an invitation to bring our broken, messy, tough, pierced hearts and be filled with fragrance.

As the cloves' design takes shape so does my prayer.

That life's hurts wouldn't toughen, but rather make meek hearts.

Ready to mix our mess with His fragrance and receive