May God Visit the Garden of Your Heart this Advent
Or so says SuperBoy when talking about Advent. We’ve begun a new season, we Catholics. It’s Advent, the four weeks before Christmas where we try to prepare our hearts for the birth of our Savior. It also is a frantic time for everyone, right? Holiday gifts, parties, baking, a quick scurry to thank everyone in your life, Do Good Diapers, the postman, the vendors who stock my goods in their sweet stores (Teeny Bee Boutique, Peapods, Brooklyn Herborium, Creative Kidstuff, Green Mom Guide), my Godfather, my kids’ Godparents, everyone. My girlfriend Laura wrote a great post about the how advent is a frenzy, but instead of freaking out, we can embrace the chaos.
I’m all about that. My sister had another girl yesterday! Another sweet niece! And I head out to visit her for a week and hopefully help with the chaos of going from one child to two. My December chaos feels more proximate because when I come home, all those presents need to be ready, all that planning won’t have room to procrastinate. Let’s just say me + Amazon have been busy the last week or so. Now to find wrapping paper.
With all this flurry going on, and still being vomit-queen of pregnancy at 18 weeks, when SuperBoy talks about getting the garden of his heart cleaned up so that God can come and visit, I say, pull out the weeds, compost it up, and let’s dig in. We always talk about our relationship to God like a gardener to his garden, except we’re the gardener, not God. So our heart needs to be weeded and fertilized and cared for nicely so we can invite God into a wonderful growing space. If we don’t take care of ourselves, or our garden, our heart isn’t a great place for Him to visit. SuperBoy likes this analogy because he understands that gardens need tending to, and that they yield fruit, and that they’re nice to be in.
Now that it’s Advent and we usher around our Advent wreath at night and open the doors to our Advent calendar each morning, and do the suggested Bible readings, this idea of a garden in our hearts is more pressing to me. What am I actually actively doing to make sure my own garden is a place God wants to come and visit? Where are my selfishnesses hiding? Where are my easy-to-cover-up-failings-because-oh-I’m-sick-and-pregnant? Where can I really truly empty myself of all the nasty weeds and thorns, and dump that fresh compost?
As a cradle Catholic, it’s easy for me to glide through the holy days without really examining anything. With just appreciating the beauty of the mass at my church. With just stepping through the motions of the spiritual season. But either I’m in this, or I’m not. My kids will sense soon enough if I’m not. My husband will not have a partner in seeking sanctity if I’m not. And I’ll know it. Like I know I ate four pieces of fudge today instead of spending 10 minutes on the stationary bike while the kids slept. I’ll just know that uncomfortable knowing of not really trying.
Inspired by my sweet son, I’m going to ask God to visit the garden of my heart this Advent. May He visit yours too. May your compost be fertile! And your weeds be few.
Here’s a little SuperBoy modeling a new organic cotton infinity scarf I’m offering on Etsy. Naturally, he thinks it should be his, instead of “some person in the globe.” We’ll see! It’s just a long loop of love.