When I was in elementary school we lived for a year in a big old farm house that was heated by a wood stove.

That Autumn was spent preparing for the artic blasts we knew would come. We split and stacked wood. We rounded up blankets and quilts. We arranged bed rolls around the stove. We let the faucets drip. We brought the dogs in because they can keep your feet warm!

Sure, a few nights that winter we were a little too cold to be comfortable. But you can’t control the weather. And we loved that old farm house. So, confident that we had prepared as best we could, we wrapped up in blankets and enjoyed the Ozarks glistening under each fresh snowfall.

Years later, it occurred to me that Autumn of preparation had been a very practical metaphor for the Advent season.

Sure, we pray for God’s perfect peace to reign in all hearts and in the world, but that timing is in God’s hands. In the meantime, we can’t control how other people choose to act toward one another. But there is much that we can do – are called by Jesus to do – to take care of one another as we wait in hope for that Spring thaw that we know will come someday.

– Joe Walker