Oh what a joy it is- decorating the tree with a 4 year old helper. She was opening, unwrapping and squealing with delight much faster than I could organize and hang the decorations. As we were enjoying the mess of dressing the tree, we came across a few ornaments that were given to my husband early in our marriage (pre-children), symbolizing our adventurous spirits and the hobby that brought us together- backpacking. The set of ornaments consists of a hiking boot, backpack, tent and sleeping bag. Dan and I met at a Christian Summer Camp in central Idaho; our job titles were Co-adventure directors. We lead week-long wilderness backpacking trips.
Backpacking into the wilderness requires planning and preparation. You need to consider: how many days you will be in the wilderness, how much food you will need accordingly, the weather and appropriate gear, what path you will take and where you will stay. There are a lot of things that one needs to know before the journey & even how to care for the wilderness (through the principles of Leave No Trace).
As I think back on that time in my life, I realize how my faith journey is a lot backpacking. Seeing the riveting, breath-taking sights God displays comes as we follow Him. We take up the gear (Ephesians 6: 10-20) that God recommends, we study the map (the Word of God). We prepare our hearts to go on a journey together, just as we would pack and prepare our food. We learn what we can from those who have gone before us and then we lace up our boots and follow our Leader one faith-filled step at a time.
The trimming of our Christmas tree (camping gear ornament set included), are things we do to prepare to celebrate Jesus birth and his intervention into humanity. Learning from those who have preceded us in faith, may your hiking boots be laced up in preparation and may you recognize the little delights along this Advent journey.
Your fellow Advent Sojourner,