Today’s Word: ‘Signs’ as in… don’t miss them on this First Wednesday of Advent.
I’m usually the last guy to appreciate any billboard or any sign advertising anything on any highway system anywhere. I know they serve a purpose and advertising seems to generate revenue, but you’ve got to admit that sometimes the signs can get in the way of things like, oh, trees and mountains, fields and lakes, the sky, eagles, wide open pastures, old barns, fields of wheat, soybeans, sunrises and sunsets—things like that.
But there is one particular sign—a big billboard along I-94 West, just northwest of Monticello, Minnesota that caught my attention several years ago. The sign along the freeway is a big welcome to the City of Alexandria, Minnesota. In big letters you see the words:
…then in smaller letters,
“Take Exit #103 – about an hour ahead”
Pretty catchy, for sure. But the name of the town and the number of the exit wasn’t what caught my attention.
In fact, I’ve never really ever noticed the words – all I’ve ever seen in the dozens of times I’ve driven that freeway is the large picture which serves as a backdrop for the sign.
It’s a summer scene of a yard; a picture taken from a boat on Lake Le Homme Dieu of some furniture on a lawn.
The picture features four pastel Adirondack chairs and a side table supporting a pot of red geraniums. The chairs and table are set facing the lake in front (which you cannot see) with a beautiful, lush, green lawn to the back (most of which you can see). It’s very captivating. It’s very compelling. It’s very inviting. It’s very beautiful, lush and green.
And it’s very much the front yard belonging to our friends, Vicki and Gary.
“Did you see that sign?” I blurted out as we passed the billboard going about 70. “Those are Gary and Vicki’s chairs! That’s their front yard! We’ve sat in those chairs a hundred times!” I yelled. (Why do we yell these kinds of things?)
“You don’t have to yell!” Nancy Lee reminded me as we continued on Interstate 94 West toward Alexandria, Minnesota, to Gary and Vicki’s home on Lake Le Homme Dieu, to spend a holiday weekend with them—sitting in those chairs.
What a moment!
We’re passing all kinds of signs in this season of Advent. We’re encountering all kinds of signs, large and small, obscure and obvious—signs of the season of Advent. And if we’re paying attention, we’ll see them everywhere. If we’re in tune with the season, with all of its anticipation and preparation, we’ll be in tune with the remarkable way the season finds us, captivates us, compels us, invites us—even calls us into the beauty of waiting and looking and watching for what we’re about to encounter—or what’s about to encounter us…just down the road of Advent.