Outside my dining room window we planted Holly. The plants were no more than large bushes when they went into the ground almost 10 years ago, but now they have surpassed their intended purpose, which was to grow tall and branch out and give us a lovely green screen in front of our fence . Each year, they produce enough holly branches and red berries to decorate the whole neighborhood with fresh holly. But the berries are unformed in the beginning, then small green nubs which swell. Around Thanksgiving, or our first colder weather,I begin looking out the window to watch as the berries take on a blush, deepening to a burnt orange, before finally glowing Christmas red. As I wait and watch, the right time comes to bring some branches and berries inside for our own “hanging of the green.”
Advent’s theme involves waiting and watching while preparing for the coming Christ. As I wake and greet God’s new mercies each morning during Advent, the color in this ancient story deepens. As I wait and watch and reach, the time grows nearer for me to gather the brilliant mystery once again and celebrate.