Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The {Im}Perfect Way to Start Advent

I tend to think that the days are slipping me by when I don't write on here. But I think there is some part of me that wrongly starts to feel guilty and twitchy, like something is missing if I haven't shared about it. The truth is that life is probably best lived in the secret, in the quiet. When I am disconnected from updating, I am assuredly more present in the living. So lest I ever think of this space as another place to upload my life, please remind me: Life isn't slipping me by because I haven't written about it. This is a place for pondering, thinking, and working things out through the written word. If it's done with any regularity that just means my brain has not been sucked dry by life with four kids or trying to figure out how to speak one of the hardest languages known to man.


It is Advent season and the days-slipping-by theme seems to be in full swing. Now you must know, I love Advent. Love. Love. Love. I am a Think Deeply About Themes kind of person so give me a book and some Scripture and tell me how light and darkness and hope and expectation and lament and rejoicing all weave together through stories and symbols and I am going to jump on that bandwagon and ride it til the cows come home. So the fact that we are now on Day 9 of the Advent calendar and five out of four of those days have gone Un-Observed because of some family sickness has not been easy on my Advent-loving heart.

Yes we have been sick and more sick around here. Almost 10 days now of off and on stomach serious nastiness and fevers and colds and children lying all over my house in various degrees of compromised health. I was thankful and proud that our Christmas decor was all arranged a few days before Thanksgiving. But then the Sick hit us and as my dear daughter pointed out with a grimace in my general direction the other morning, the tree has lights but nothing else. We didn't do our tree decorating cozy evening yet. We didn't hang stockings. I barely got the advent calendar up. We've spent a few nights reading our daily portions and lighting candles, but at this point if feels disjointed at best.

But as in so many things in life that go this way, I think in the end the days of sick may just be the way we need it this year for Advent. If these few days of preparation are meant to help us open our minds, enlarge our hearts, and allow space to ponder anew the coming of Jesus, to see what He is doing in the world and to recognize how he is speaking in our lives, then being home without much to do but care for needy kids is one very pared down way to do that.

Because even in preparing for Advent-- the very season to ready you for the coming of Christ-- you can get caught up in the preparations, in making sure you are doing all the right activities, becoming either somewhat frenzied or at least particular and controlling about the ways in which you will create a space to experience the real meaning of the season. And then once again, the Person you are trying to meet gets missed, or smothered.

If the space and time I need to think about the darkness of this world and the hope of the Light that has come into it, is created by sitting with a fevered, wimpering child all afternoon, then iso be it. In some small way, this is my point of entry-- at least this year-- into the mystery of the Bethlehem Story and all it's inconveniences that birthed a Savior into the world.

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