It’s been a long while and I apologize for that. It’s too long of a story to really cover well in a blog post, so I’m just going to have to ask you to bear with me while I just jump back into my posting and cover the pertinent stuff when I’m ready.
I’ve been craving a quieter, slower connection with myself and the people around me. Perfect timing with the Silly Season upon us, right? I mean, I love Christmas more than the average person, but the way we celebrate it in our modern life is anything but quiet and slow.
I’m not an especially religious person, but I do find some comfort in many church/spiritual rituals and observances. My own background is in the Episcopal church, and so that’s where I turn first, out of familiarity. Earlier this year, I mentioned to my dad that I was looking for an Advent wreath but couldn’t find one at any of the local craft stores, and asked him to look through their collection and maybe send one my way. Instead, I received a lovely new Advent wreath from my mom last week. Just in time for Advent to start last night.
So, with that as my cue from the universe, I restarted an old “family dinner”
tradition where we invite folks over for a nice meal on Sunday nights. We had a chicken in the freezer and lots of left overs from Hogsgiving. I invited a handful of friends . We turned off the TV and phones, turned on some nice music, and sat around the table and had some nice conversation. It’s so refreshing to really connect like that. Most of our meals are spent sitting, watching the TV or playing computer games. And that’s OK most of the time. But it’s also nice to turn everything off once in a while and really connect face to face.
Before dinner, I took some time and read the Advent Message from the Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori:
Advent is a time of waiting and for many people it’s a time to reflect on what Mary must have experienced as she waited for the birth of this unusual child.
You may never have been pregnant or lived with someone who was, but put yourself in her place for a while. Consider what it would have been like to have a new life growing within you. And reflect on what new is growing within you this season of Advent.
What new concern is growing for the people around you? What new burden is on your heart for the woes of the world? What new possibility do you see emerging in the world around you, and how might you be part of that?
Advent is a quieter time of the year in the Church’s understanding. It’s a time to be still and listen, listen deep within to what is growing, ready to emerge into new life.
And as the season for the birth of the Christ Child arrives, I would encourage you to consider how you yourself will be present in the world in a new way this year. How will you give evidence of love incarnate to the world around you?
I pray that you have a blessed and joyful and peace-filled Advent. God be with you.
I’m intrigued by the idea of approaching winter as a time of new beginning. That’s usually a theme reserved for Easter, for spring. Or New Years’. It’s nice to start thinking about new beginnings in December, rather than January. We become so wrapped up in getting through Christmas, we don’t give nearly enough attention to the New Year. I know that Christmas is important for many people, but it’s only one day, or 12 days depending on how you celebrate, but the New Year is 365 days. How you approach January 1 sets the tone for the whole year. The goals you list are not set in stone, but they certainly color how you approach the new experiences.
On the flip side, as one thing begins, another ends. And while we spend so much time focused on the beginnings, and the next beginning, and then the beginning after that, we rarely stop and pay attention to the endings. People graduate from high school or college, and while there is a nice ceremony with lots of speeches and pageantry, most of us are focused on the next steps. And that’s important. It’s good to know what comes next. But there is less attention shown to how these endings affect the people involved. We are so exciting about the next chapter, we rarely stop and think about how the closing of this chapter will affect us.
So, when we come to another chapter closing, we don’t have the skills to handle it as well. When a loved one dies, we are left confused, feeling like we’ve been set adrift. We are reminded that we are out of control. That we are not always the writers in our life’s story. We spend so much time trying to hold on to what we had, we have no way of know how to let go gracefully.
So, with this in mind, I have decided to spend as much time as possible in quiet contemplation over the next couple of weeks, both remembering the past and preparing for the future.