Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Journal

(The marigolds, almost done for, still delight me)

A storm blew through last night that swept the last of the leaves off the trees. Now the sky is bigger. Now the light pierces everything.

I'm trying to pay attention this Advent, which is something I try to do every Advent. Usually it's a lost cause by December 10th, when all the hurry and the stress sets in. But for these first four days at least, I've done the daily readings and written in my journal, and kept a candle lit as I've sat at the kitchen table and worked on a revision.

We'll see how long it lasts.

(Lettuce and greens in our messy garden)

"Forbid that we should stumble through this day oblivious to the wonder in the ordinary," pled one of my readings this morning. The same author informed me that finitum capax infiniti is the Latin for the finite is capable of the infinite.

This afternoon, driving to pick up Will from school, I glanced in my rear-view mirror to see the woman in the car behind me laughing and talking a mile a minute. A second glance revealed her audience, a chocolate brown Lab in the backseat. It was just the two of them in the car, and they both appeared to be having a grand time. It was absurdly cheering.

I am grieving today for my friend Jamie, whose father died yesterday. It's a strange thing, to feel grief on such a beautiful afternoon. And strange to laugh at the woman and the dog in my rear-view mirror while grieving. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, she said, and so I did both.

(There are carrots growing in this here pot; there are a couple right
around 3:00--look for very skinny green leaves)

Another excerpt from my reading: "Christmas forces us to deal with all the mess of our humanity in the context of God who has already entered that mess in the glorious birth of Jesus."

We expect so many wonderful things from this time of year, but year after year what we get is mess because what we are is a mess. Some of it's funny, but there's a lot of grief and sadness, addiction and depression, lack of love, lack of affection, just a lot of mess we'd rather not deal with, and feel somehow like we shouldn't have to deal with, not at Christmas.

But what better time? In the middle of our grief, in the middle of all our human messes, a reminder that the darkness doesn't win. The light wins. Watch for it.


magsmcc said...

Thanks for this. I've just been reading my favourite Christmas book with the boys for the first time as an experiment. But it struck me that I could dig out what started as a Lenten journal and think through my own domestic mess. So again thank you!

Elisabet thought that clocks, too, might get bored with doing the same thing all the time.

Pom Pom said...

Beautiful, Frances. I'm sad for your friend and happy for the dog and his lady friend.

Angela said...

Even in the darkest moments of life, there is a flash of light as the love of God breaks through into our darkness.

And what a great God we have- One who helps us see conversational Labs, and determined carrots, and vibrant marigolds even on a day when we weep with a grieving friend.

Advent blessings x

wayside wanderer said...

Very good thoughts and especially poignant during this season of waiting for all things to be made right by His coming again. Your garden pictures are wonderful, too.

GretchenJoanna said...

I see the carrots! I do! And your marigolds are brave. Let us be, too.

Tracy said...

It is good to be intentional. Perhaps each year you'll make it closer and closer to Christmas without the mess overwhelming you?!

The one thing that never ceases to confound me about grief is that life goes on. You don't want it to. You want some time to just stop and be. To really have time to deal with your feelings. But life carries you along despite your need. Perhaps it's necessary so that we don't get stuck in our grief. But it seems harsh.

Gumbo Lily said...

An Advent journal sounds so good. And the book you are reading from does too. May I ask the title?

I love seeing your garden sprouts.

I'm so glad that Jesus is the King of my Mess. Wishing you happy Advent times.