Written by Donna Schaper
"The grass withers, the flower fades . . . but the glory of the Lord endures forever." - Isaiah 40:1-8
In many congregations, the sign-up sheet for the Christmas poinsettias is already on the bulletin board. Some will be memorial gifts, others just gifts. When amassed, they will make for one of the familiar Christmas sights. A flood of emotions will attend the flowers. A few weeks after Christmas, the custodian or the flower chairperson will throw them away.
Sometimes a scavenger, like me, will take them and hide them off for the possibility of a re-bloom. Once in Miami, I saved several dozen and planted them and they took over my entire yard and doubled in size. The same thing happened to the Easter lilies that year.
Often the "women's fellowship" or the church's chief aesthetician is in charge of the flowers, or "the lovelies" as I have heard them called. Sometimes way too much attention is given to the lovelies and way too little to the glory of the Lord. We do like to substitute details for depth.
Still, and all, Advent begs us to prepare for the coming glory. Flowers are our props.
Others prepare for the glory of the Lord by fixing the universe, despite itself. Still others prepare for the inevitable glory of God's arrival as a baby with Advent calendars, opening small doors on large mysteries. I prepare by checking on last year's poinsettias, to see if they had the courage to bloom again.
Glorious God, drown us in traditions of color and flower and let this Advent make us less afraid of the wilting and the fading. Amen.