…prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his path. Mark 1:3
Prepare…wait…be vigilant…be patient…contemplate…be still. Those are the words that flood our ears as we begin the season of Advent. A season set aside in the Christian world to help us do one thing…re-focus! Man oh man does the world need a little re-focus right about now. In order to do Advent right, we have to be mindful of what it is we’re preparing for so today is a perfect day to think about that very thing.
Saturday was a very big day for a group of young men who represented our community. It was just a football game…or was it? Playing in a State Championship game is every football players dream, so to say Saturday’s trip to Ford field was just another game is like saying Christmas is just another day on the calendar. Saturday the towns of Pewamo and Westphalia were practically empty. Folks headed in droves to Detroit to watch a group of talented, hard working determined young men play their hearts out. Folks went to watch the ending to a story, and man what a spectacular ending it was! Those who watched either from the stands or on TV saw the young men we’ve all known since boyhood. I saw those same looks of determination; those same looks of frustration; those same grins and those same spirits I’d seen in the classroom. The beauty of living in a small town is that you know each of the players by name, you know their family and you know that the fans are going to stop traffic at the four corners to welcome home the boys and their Championship title. This little school district collected two state championship and one state runner-up trophies within a month but why the fuss? The fuss is in the story not just the ending. The fuss is in the lessons, the examples, the relationships and the reminder that we’re all stronger when we stand together and focus on the good stuff.
The road to championships this fall at PW schools is a lot like Advent. The excitement wasn’t just in one race or game. There was a preparation, a contemplation, a focus and re-focus along the way. It took dozens of re-do’s and many, many moments of reflection to get to the happy endings we all enjoyed. They couldn’t race right to the championship ending, there was waiting and patience along the way. All those pieces fit together beautifully in the end and there was great rejoicing, laughter and celebration. If those of you from out of town could have seen the crowded streets or the standing cheering crowds your hearts would have been touched by the support, love and powerful connection. My favorite faces were the moms and dads. The parents who payed for shoes, pay to play fees, equipment, lessons, tallied miles on vehicles and spent small fortunes on gas to games and practice. All the sacrifice of time, treasure and talent all melted into great happy shouts and proud hugs and smiles. Why? Because they love their children and want good things for them. The number of prayers said for the athlete’s safety; their sportsmanship; their ability to use well their gifts to glorify the giver of those gifts…it was all a part of the journey and the parents were grateful and proud, the coaches were humbled and honored and the athletes were excited and fulfilled. It’s got all the components of the perfect Advent. Patience, re-focus, anticipation, preparation, glory and a proud Father and great blessing at the end!
My last big thought as I type this post so proud of the students who grew up to do really cool stuff is this; what if we walked in to Mass or Church Service on Christmas as excited about the birth of God’s Son as we were about these amazing accomplishments and trophies? What if we looked at Advent as the season to get ready for the amazing? Our kids and coaches have shown us how it’s done and what the result can be, so how about we apply those same lessons to an even greater, mightier and worthier level? And how about the look on the Father’s face when we get it right?
A Seed To Plant: Make a plan for Advent. Get a book, find a website, download an app…take that step today to begin preparing for a Championship Christmas.
Blessings on your day!
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