Kris Camealy is an encourager with a gift for friendship. Though we have yet to meet in person, I am already blessed to call her friend.
Also, this lady knows how to get things done. At least, that’s how it looks from where I sit. I have no idea how she manages to write and create and teach and organize (and cook!) the way she does, but she inspires me.
I think her reflection will inspire you, too, though it is her vulnerability, even her weakness, that shines so beautifully in this piece.
In the middle of the busiest shopping weekend of the year, with the steady lure of distractions and temptations streaming into my inbox, I fight to be present—to pay attention.
The Saturday before Advent, I listen to a scripture reading on my phone while warming Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner. The recorded voice reads a passage from the 13th chapter of the book of Mark. As I listen to Jesus’s words to his disciples urging them to “stay awake,” I am struck by the insistence with which He speaks this message.
“Be on guard,” He says. “Stay Awake.”
Meanwhile all I can think about is how tired I am. I turn the page on the calendar; how is it December already? I seem to enter the season of Advent every year like this — unprepared, tired, and teetering on anxious. The sun slips away by five pm, and the premature darkness leaves me sagging well before dinner. I shuffle through the evening routine with one eye on the clock, anticipating crawling into bed.
Stay awake, Christ urges. For you do not know when the master of the house will come…lest he come suddenly and find you asleep (Mark 13:36).
Advent comes with an unbearable weight bearing down, the expectation of Christ coming. I wonder if Mary was able to stay awake in the waiting? How long a journey it was to Bethlehem, to stable, to the floor of a crude barn, where she spilled the Glory of the World into the soiled hay at the feet of livestock.
Stay awake — five days after hearing them, these words refuse to leave me. Advent comes every year at a pre-determined time, marked on virtually every calendar available. I know exactly when it will begin. I know when it will end. But Christ’s urgency to his disciples reminds me that I don’t really know what I think I know.
The season of Advent offers an opportunity to learn to prepare, to remain awake, even when the temptation to hibernate presses in. Wakefulness requires a conscious effort to be present, even in my weariness.
After dinner I close up the kitchen. I’ve scuttled the kids all off to their beds. I find a quiet spot at the edge of the sofa and sit for the first time in a couple of hours. I light the candle on the table beside me and sit still in the dim, flickering light while the dishwasher hums busy in the background.
Recounting Mary’s journey to the stable, in the dark of a waiting world, Advent invites me to hold on. I’m reminded to ready my heart for the King’s coming.
Stay awake, He urges. Pay attention. Be present.
As a sequin-wearing, homeschooling mother of four, Kris is passionate about Jesus, people and words. Her heart beats to share the hard but glorious truth about life in Christ. She’s been known to take gratuitous pictures of her culinary creations, causing mouths to water all across Instagram. Once upon a time, she ran 10 miles for Compassion International, a ministry for which she serves as an advocate. Kris is the author of Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement and the follow up Companion Workbook.
You can read more from Kris at kriscamealy.com.