Here's a Texan sentence for y'all ~ today I holed up in my writing room. I needed sheltered space to think about Advent. No epiphanies came my way, but in yesterday's Advent reading, I gleaned this from the introduction:
"Light your candles quietly, such candles as you possess, wherever you are.
Though Advent (literally 'arrival') has been observed for centuries as a time to contemplate Christ's birth, most people today acknowledge it only with a blank look. For the vast majority of us, December flies by in a flurry of activities, and what is called 'the holiday season' turns out to be the most stressful time of the year.
It is also a time of contrasting emotions. We are eager, yet frazzled; sentimental yet indifferent. One minute we glow at the thought of getting together with our family and friends; the next we feel utterly lonely. Our hope is mingled with dread, our anticipation with despair. We sense the deeper meanings of the season, but grasp at them in vain; and in the end, all the bustle leaves us frustrated and drained.
Even we who do not experience such tensions - who genuinely love Christmas - often miss the point. Content with candles and carols and good food, we bask in the warmth of familiar traditions, in reciprocated acts of kindness, and in feelings of general goodwill. How many of us remember the harsh realities of Christ's first coming: the dank stable, the cold night, the closed door of the inn? How many of us share the longing of ancient prophets, who awaited the Messiah with such aching intensity that they foresaw his arrival thousands of years before he was born?
That is the main purpose of this collection: to reforge that link, and to encourage the rediscovery of Advent as a season of inward preparation."
[the editors, Advent 2001]
With that under my belt, I sang songs and snapped pics of my desk, cluttered with inspiration:
[I'm loving honeybush tea. That business card reads, "Drink hot coffee, drink hot tea, burn your lips and remember me. Yours till Niagra Falls, The Small Object"]
Next, I pondered my completed Advent & Christmas wire:
[Charley Harper, port2port, and Lena Corwin]
[port2port, Lena Corwin, my friend Robyn, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and simply photo]
[Juniper Ridge catalog]
[Nikki McClure 2007 calendar]
There's a lot going on. I considered removing the cards on top, but they seem to belong there. I like that this wire is almost Cross-shaped. I like how the colors complement each other. I like the white, snow (a Texan's dream), frost, light, pine, waiting, red, and warmth. Front and center, the Cross photograph quietly speaks favorite Bible verses of mine:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
[John 1:1-5, 14]
I also like the simply photo images of breakfasts - pancakes and granola - two beloved dishes which I cannot eat. At least not right now while I kill a yeast imbalance in my body. I often wonder why I view simply breakfast each morning. You think it would drive me insane to see meal after meal which is temporarily forbidden. But Jennifer Causey's photography is so beautiful that I can't help myself. The images give me hope. Her photos are meditative. Such a breakfast is only one of the many things I look forward to as I wait - on healing, children, and strength. In fact, I wait for our children, two of which are named, with some of that "aching intensity" of the ancient prophets - for quite a remarkable Infant. I've never done so much waiting in my life as during this health treatment. In the midst of Advent I've understood a little better that my waiting is not in vain. There is a purpose rich with symbolism, and more than metaphor, a purpose with literal meaning.
port2port's twinkle tag conveys what I like best about a Christmas tree: lights. Last Sunday - the 2nd Sunday of Advent - we added white lights to our bare tree, and in the otherwise dark living room I felt like a kid again. I felt aflutter inside, anticipating purple glass ornaments this Sunday, family next weekend, starting up the fireplace, giving gifts, and sipping coffee & laughing with our family after the Christmas meal. And, anticipating the future - a baby on my hip in a Christmas or two, perhaps. As I wait for Jesus, the best is yet to come.
Posted by jenni at 5:19 PM