Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Advent Mousecapade

Many of us look forward to having Christmas guests this time of year. My family started early. Last week, we had four very special visitors to start the season off right. A family of mice decided to drop in.

A friend gave us a Christmas tree, and as they say, you never know what might “come with the box.” Our guests provided lots of entertainment … you should have heard Sandy shrieking with delight.

As soon as our Advent mousecapade was over and our guests were attended to, Sandy let me know it was time to start cleaning. I have gotten started. Cleaning behind the refrigerator was rather interesting. There was an entire ecosystem back there.

I’ve never been a fan of pre-Christmas cleaning. I figure that’s what spring is for. Christmas is something you clean up after. But alas, our resident rodents have forced the issue, and Sandy can be rather persuasive.

During Advent, maybe pre-Christmas cleaning is just what we need. Malachi tells us that God is sending an emissary who comes intending to purify our hearts and cleanse our souls. I imagine he is speaking of John the Baptist, described as a messenger who will come like "refiner’s fire" and "fuller’s soap". John comes every Advent, as if holding a flame in one hand and detergent in the other, announcing the time has come to prepare the way of the Lord.

I have noticed in recent years that when I visit families in the hospital after a new birth, I’m often asked if I have washed my hands before I hold their child. Thank you, dear Christmas mice, for reminding me that Malachi sends me the same Advent message. I have to wash up before I hold the baby.