Every year, I spend a couple of days cleaning my home’s fifteen windows and three doors. The storm windows come out, double washed along with the screens. The 1950’s double hung window panes are spritzed with vinegar and a drop of peppermint soap, then wiped clean and dry. Only when everything is back in place do I notice the difference it makes: the world outside comes into focus, its beauty no longer dulled by the accumulated grime that comes with the passing of the seasons. It isn’t as if the world outside my windows has been miraculously transformed by vinegar, water, and soap – it’s that the lens I see it through no longer blinds me to the miracle it always has been.
Advent is another yearly cleaning – wiping away the spiritual sediment that blocks my view of this sacred time and place. I don’t notice it gathering on my soul’s lens, but there it is: the dust of my unwillingness to see in every living thing the presence of God, the grime of assuming I know how God will act in my life. Spending time with daily readings, and praying for God’s presence doesn’t change this world, they reveal its glory. Is there a better way to welcome the Christ child than loving the world he joined for love’s sake?