Thursday, December 04, 2014

On keeping a low-key Advent

Advent has begun in a muted fashion for me this year.  As it's a a quasi-penitential season of waiting, this may actually be an appropriate response. Yet I'm used to a bit more in the way of anticipation.

At church, we lost the dear young man I spoke of in my last post, and his funeral was wrenching and painful.  In addition, our priest broke her ankle in the middle of a move to her new home, so we have had to deal with the question of whether we can stand to do only Morning and Evening Prayer in Advent, or whether we should seek the ever-more-elusive supply priest.

At home, we have had to deal with a bit of Family Drama, but it has been resolved for the present (we hope). We erected the Christmas tree in the living room, but it stands there naked, waiting for us to have time to trim it. Perhaps this weekend.  I finally remembered I had not ordered a wreath for the front door, so belatedly did that yesterday.

So Advent has begun with a series of half-gestures, offhandedly, as one of those tasks we have shoved to the bottom of the list. This is wrong, of course. But we lack energy to change it.

Of course, many people feel this way about Christmas, for one reason or another, it does not bring them happiness. For me, Christmas has not been the same since my parents died.  My mother died on December 15 of 1995, and J.'s mother on December 14 of 2011, so this month is  additionally freighted with bad memories. Our adult children are here for a day or two at the holiday, but it is mainly just the two of us and the dogs in the late-autumn gloom.

In this Advent darkness, as the days continue to shorten, we long for mild weather and happier times. As the Pagans celebrate the Winter Solstice by invoking the return of the sun, it makes sense that Christians celebrate the birth of the Son  at the darkest possible season.

This is all we have to hold onto in our dark places.

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