[Jesus said,] “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaid took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’
And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’
Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.“ – Matthew 25:1-13
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I spent the weekend counting seeds and doing my fall cleaning. I’ve been sweeping and straightening and labeling and making lists for the last week or so, figuring out what we need to get ourselves through the next eight weeks of all out sprinting through life. Maybe you’ve been doing your own version of this preparation.
This is the point in fall where we have to lean into all the rest we collected during the summer…right? Where we dig deep to remember the lingering sunsets and sand between our toes, the dew of sweat and the slight sting of pool chlorine, and remember fondly the ripe tomatoes we thought we’d never see end. Parents and caregivers, I know you all are leaning heavily into your activity schedules and pack your snack boxes extra heavy.
This end-of-year sprint is familiar territory for all of us. And still, every year it rolls around and surprises us. But, like Mrs. Incredible reminds us, we are not going to panic. One of the ways we can ensure we stay on top of the pace is to keep on saying our prayers, checking our calendars, and making sure we have enough to share with whoever didn’t get the memo.
Also, most importantly, this means saying, “Thank you,” “Please,” “You’re welcome,” and “I love you,” very, very often. In neighbor terms, this may mean packing an extra lunch, or sharing a ride or just offering grace wherever we can.
For me, getting ready for the long stretch between now and the end of the year looks like decluttering, ordering our 2018 seed catalog, deciding what we want to plant in the garden next year, and taking steps to expand our planting area.
It’s a long time yet until we can even think about putting seeds into bathroom cups full of soil, and longer still before we can watch them flower and fruit. But we’ve committed to this discipline of digging in the dirt, of growing some of our food, and these are the preparations we take to try and do better than we did last season.
We’re doing this work together, my friends—growing families, gardens, lives of faith, day by day.
As you begin your own sprint toward 2018, how can this community help you pray through your final preparations? How will you support your own community and family during this speedy time?
How do you prepare for the season of holy days to come?