I don't typically play music obsessively....but lately I've latched onto Sting's If on a Winter's Night, perhaps because it's emphatically not Christmas music. I've rarely been running the heat...leaving as much of a chill in the apartment as is really possible in a South Carolina December. It somehow seems important to burrow into winter, to wrap the darkness and the damp around me. Which would be much easier with the quiet hush of snowfall.
My instincts are to slow down before Christmas....I have no shopping, wrapping, cardwriting impulses at this time of year. The whirl of school activity becomes draining and often I finish semesters dragging and exhausted. I used to think this made me horrible person, but lately, I've decided it's just that I have Advent built into me.
While I was in Belize, I learned that the Mayans didn't believe in endings, simply in new beginnings (particularly interesting and disturbing was that this was part of the rational for human sacrifice). However, it seems far more truthful to say that nothing can begin without something else ending. My favorite Christmas carol has always been "O Little Town of Bethlehem," especially the line "the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight."
Christ's first coming was disruptive...hope led the Magi to travel thousands of miles to worship, while fear led Herod to slaughter a city of innocent children. His second coming promises to be more disruptive as he comes as King, bringing with him the power he laid aside in Bethlehem, and coming to the entire earth rather than just Israel.
In an Advent homily a couple years ago, my priest said "In Advent, we celebrate the three-fold coming of Christ: his past coming in Bethlehem, his present coming by the Holy Spirit, and His future coming as King." It only makes sense that if Christ's past and future comings are disruptive, his present coming is also. Here in Advent, I prepare to celebrate Christ's coming to Bethlehem, and I prepare for his future coming as King...but what am I doing to prepare for his coming into my daily life? I've said before that Advent and Lent are really where we live, as we prepare for Christ's kingdom....but just how does one go about living in Advent? Perhaps acknowledging every day's beginnings and endings.
Or, to quote the inimitable Joni Mitchell- "something's lost, but something's gained
In living every day"
On an unrelated note....this blog was started in Advent a year ago, in anticipation of graduate school and needing someplace a little more "grown up" for my musings. It's been a very hard and very full year, so much more than I could have imagined.