"God showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… and it was round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: 'What can this be?' And it was generally answered thus: 'It is all that was made.' It was so small I thought it might disappear, but I was answered... everything has being through the love of God." --Julian of Norwich

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

On Advent

I've been longing to write about Advent this year. 

About being pregnant during Advent: anticipating the arrival of a new person to our family, waiting, growing, meditating on the excruciating joy of birth. 

About lighting the candles at our table each night and with our youth group on Sundays.  Lighting candles in mason jars in our windows.

About how the Christmas "sparkly" lights on homes in our neighborhood that make Lucy squeal with insatiable delight mean something special in the dark of these long winter nights. 

About celebrating St. Nicholas Day for the first time on Dec 6, and teaching Lucy that St. Nicholas brings presents (with so much wobbling about and worrying, "what am I telling her?  That a dead bishop brings toys to the windowsill instead of a fat white guy coming down the chimney?  Am I sure about this?"). 

About how we've decided to keep Christmas Day for giving to others and celebrating a big meal, a true feast, with whoever will come, instead of the crazy Santa, Christmas-presents under the tree bonanza, how we think that is more true to the Christmas traditions we enjoyed as kids.

About how the closest I've come to any kind of Advent devotion is: 1) a somewhat silly app from the Google Play store, which at least has readings from the Old and New Testaments even if the prayers can be less than stimulating, 2) an effort to set aside 30 minutes before bed to be with God, even if that just means praying the Jesus Prayer while I crochet (it fits nicely with the rhythm of the half-double crochet stitch, by the way), 3) listening to Handel's Messiah (oh the GLORY, the glory of the Lord shall be reveal-ed!), 4) occasionally lighting the Advent wreath.

About how insufficient all that feels to fortify me against the commercialist chatter of the Christmas season and the pitch blackness of the dark, and the weakness of my own body.  How I long to discipline myself with more rigor, but the most I can muster is a detailed menu plan for the next two weeks, planning ahead to buy a Christmas Turkey long before the less-expensive ones have disappeared from the shelves of Famous Foods, that emporium of the less-processed and ethically raised.  It is something, I guess, something important.  This year I'm going to celebrate a high holy day of the Christian church with a feast, Lord willing, something I've been longing to make happen for several years since I started feeling like enjoying extravagant food should mean something.

Well, so, there you are.  My Advent: the bullet-form.

I'm longing to write here more often, just the uncensored impressions of my life and thoughts on life.  Just for the sake of getting my writing out there into the world where people can lay their eyes on it.  But things have been holding me back.  Worries, the blankness of the processor when I open a new post, the pressure to be "building a platform" so I can sell the book I'm still crafting, time and mental space.  I'm going to try to let go, to get these words into pixels and let them loose.  Here's hoping.

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