|Last year's Christmas Card, captioned "Because Advent Waiting is Different for Everyone". This is the Countdown to Christmas Nativity set, which encourages adding extra animals. M took it on himself to add the Red Tide.|
Advent means different things to everyone. This year, we are in a new state on a new coast. We've moved about as far away from our earlier life as you could while still remaining in one country.
Advent this year is a welcome new year. No more grad school or board certification interviews. No more proving ourselves. Just some time to just be.
|With apologies for the crummy picture, this is one of the coolest Nativity sets ever. (It flips over to become a Lent set.)|
Advent comes just before Christmas. This one is tough, because I usually like giving and receiving gifts. My favorite way is "family unit gifts" where each family unit gives something to the other family units, to enjoy as a group. Cookies, a Wii game, something like that. But this year I just have no energy for shopping or sending. I don't even have energy to drag the Countdown Nativity set out, and I love the Countdown Nativity set. I want to sit in my de-cluttered, minimally decorated living room with non-seasonal knitting and drink non-Christmassy drinks like gin and tonics and watch zombie shows on TV.
I love Advent and I love the quiet time my parish is setting up. I love the work. I love the season. I just don't have any energy at all for the secular side of it this year- the Christmas tree and the spending and the eating and all that.
I wonder if I have gone Full Scale Scrooge, or if I'm having some sort of reaction to the overselling from merchants since September. I confess I want to go to Nordstroms partly because they refused to decorate until after Thanksgiving. And I refuse to shop at Best Buy this year because they wrote about how much they wanted to stay closed on Thanksgiving but felt pressure from other retailers to open. (My response: have some balls, Best Buy, and stay closed, and tell people about it.)
In the meantime, I am enjoying my quiet Advent day of reflection (part of which included the reflection above) and am looking forward to heading home in a few hours to do some non-seasonal cooking.
Most interestingly, I played a role I think we had not anticipated: Quiet Day Chaplain. A solid handful of people came to talk quietly about some of the spiritual work they were doing today and it was some fascinating conversations indeed. On one hand, I feel I am so not qualified to be hearing these stories and confessions and wonderings and to be offering any kind of a response. But on the other hand, it's kind of what I felt like I was born to do- it was one of those days when things just fit.
I loved the Quiet Day part of Advent, and feel actually ready now for the season. Though still not ready for the shopping!
Perhaps I'll bake my famous Star Wars Christmas Cookies for the teens sometime this month. Nothing says Christmas like a Darth Vader cookie with peppermint royal icing on the back, right?
|Oh, yeah! Just try to tell me you don't feel the holiday spirit coursing through you already.|