Mr Clumsy

6 December 2009

Even a very normal day is a disaster with Mr. Clumsy.
The only place he’s safe is asleep in bed!
Everything Mr Clumsy touches breaks or ends up where it shouldn’t.
When he has to go shopping,
instead of taking just one can, he knocks over the whole stack.
On a farm, he falls into a puddle, and must go home and take a bath.
He falls into the linen basket.
He falls out of his chair when he eats dinner.
Everywhere he goes, chaos erupts.

People have been known to say that of me, at times.
“Everywhere he goes, chaos erupts” – especially if it is something practical involved.
Even the act of getting a hammer from the workbench can result in disaster.
Hannah Walker looked in amazement just last week
as I was cutting bread for the Council meeting –
“Did you just carve your thumb?”

It’s the time of year for our Mr Clumsys, I think.
It’s the time of year for chaos to erupt
For about a week at home, we had hundreds – actually thousands – of lights
scattered across our floors while we determined if they worked and where to put them.

Advent takes on the whole feel of chaos, as if Mr Clumsy has just walked through.

And one of the ways we deal with the chaos is the preparation:
shopping for presents, picking out trees,
cooking for dinner parties and gearing up for family gatherings,
scurrying around to parties, meetings and malls
spending inordinate amounts of time consuming, working and planning.
Tis the season of preparation upon layers of preparation.

Does the preparation help to give the feel that the chaos is under control?
Does the preparation help to push Mr Clumsy back out the door?

I wonder if we could allow ourselves to go in a couple of different directions at Advent.
Because the ironic thing is that while we prepare and prepare,
we might also be being more and more distracted.
The tinsel on the trees and the decorations that are going up are shiny – silver and gold.
And Malachi speaks of God’s refining fire, like purifying gold.
We are already on the hunt for Christmas gifts,
and Zechariah talks of the gifts of mercy and forgiveness and peace and redemption
As our pantries start to overflow with the food that will flood the Christmas meal table
Paul writes to the Philippians encouraging them to overflow with love.
We prepare for a holiday.   John prepares for a way.

Tempting as it is to prepare and to avoid the feel of clumsiness, and the impact of chaos
Advent provides us with the chance to allow the chaos to be very present
in fact, we can allow the chaos to be an inspiration.

Everywhere he goes, chaos erupts.

The voice cries out in the wilderness.   Prepare the way of the Lord.
John the Baptist is a voice of chaos – and possibly looked a bit like Mr Clumsy!

The road will be made straight. Valleys brought up and Mountains torn down.

Doesn’t it sound great.
But John the Baptist stumbles into our lives each Advent
and trips over our Christmas trees, and gets his arm caught on our tinsel.
he knocks over our lights, and drops the pots with our Christmas puddings

The road will be made straight. Valleys brought up and Mountains torn down.

There is a lot of work that goes into straightening a road
and most of it is messy and chaotic

Is the Advent road heading across your property?
Is the preparation this year not really about tinsel and trees, presents and puddings?
Is the preparation about something else?
Locating a peace in the midst of chaos?
Building for a living of justice that goes past the purchase of TEAR gifts?
Providing a hospitality that extends past the giving of Christmas hampers?

The road will be made straight. Valleys brought up and Mountains torn down.
Everywhere he goes, chaos erupts.

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