Several mornings a week I usually take our granddaughter, Harlan, to her maternal great-grandmothers house for baby-sitting. I travel the same route each time. I am so familiar with the drive that I seldom notice the sights on either side of the road. Recently, however, I noticed a small house that I had never seen before. It has been there for some time. I just never saw it. Maybe it was because the surrounding trees have shed their leaves and made the house more readily available to the eye. Perhaps I just happened to fix my gaze in that particular direction at that time. Regardless, I saw something I had never seen before.
The house is attractive and reflects a sense of warmth. Well kept structure, tidy yard, remains of a garden off to the side....so inviting that one could easily say, "I wish I lived there." The inhabitants who do live there can sit on a back deck overlooking a small pond. There is a serene sense of quietness about the place. For those who are so inclined, this house in the woods could be a real object of envy. And I had never seen it before.
As I drive that same road, I always look at my newly discovered house. And I take time to notice other houses, yards, ponds, and points of beauty along the way. As a matter of fact, this recent attempt to see with new eyes has become more of a gift of awareness during this advent season. I more consciously seek out the new as it can be noticed by the different senses.
Addiction groups that have a twelve step program frequently point out how important it is to live one day at a time. Just because one is clean and sober today does not guarantee that such will be true tomorrow. Each day must be experienced and lived for itself. I have heard the one-day-at-a-time suggestion for many years. Honestly though, I have never consciously practiced it with any degree of seriousness. I am always looking at the schedule and the calendar and considering what is on up ahead in the next few days, weeks, months, even years. I am beginning to sense that I really miss the important in pursuit of the unknown.
Advent means waiting patiently, anticipating how the promised one might come again into our lives. If I am thinking about something down the road a few days, I most likely will miss that sense of presence. So, whether it is looking out for new sights on a well-traveled road or waiting to see how the God of Mystery will touch, challenge, and transform me today, I am becoming more eager to find the new in the midst of the familiar.