Tuesday, Second Week of Advent
December 8, 2009

"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." -- Colossians 1:19-20

Making Time for Joy

Growing up in my house, it was the tradition each year as Christmas approached to setup a Lionel Model train set. This wasn't your tiny circle train set that went around the base of the tree. This train set was a giant, two table-sized wooden sheets painted evergreen with three sets of interconnected tracks permanently mounted on the wood.  Fully connected, the model took up about two thirds of the living room in our house.
The fun in setting up the train set began after precariously bringing the model down from our attic through the narrow hallways of my house. We had an entire town to setup complete with light-up houses, an airport, gravel streets, ice skating rink, and a miniature Christmas tree. Once the town was assembled, we began to race the trains around the track, controlling them with a rather odd lever and dial system.
If you can't tell already, I'm still pretty nostalgic about the model train set. As I got older we began to only setup the train set every other year, and then every three, and then we stopped setting it up all together. Besides getting older and the train losing some of it excitement, the primary reason for not setting it up each year was the "busy" outlook my family developed as we got older. "We don't have time", "It isn't worth the trouble", "We won't use it" became the main excuses.
I know sometimes these are the excuses I find myself making in my relationship with God. Even during this Advent season, when we're preparing for the Jesus' coming it becomes easy to get so caught up in the academic stresses of college and forget about the excitement and hope that Christ's coming is bringing. It is a joy that is so much greater than setting up a model train set. Christ is bringing the hope of the world, our hope for a redeemed relationship with God into the world. And that is something not to be forgotten or taken for granted as we get older, but it is something for us to continue to be reminded of each day. The freedom from sin and the hope of the world has been given to us in the form of a small baby born in Bethlehem. Praise God.
-- Nate Schneck '11