As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Advent Bubble

There was a time when Christmas for me was as harried as it was for the next busy Mom.  And yet as I think upon the last couple of years, it has not been so.  Not since I began homeschooling three years ago, well, actually, three years ago in January.  Three years ago at this exact point in time, I was home with a very new baby boy, an excellent reason to bow out of the Christmas craziness.  My dear husband, who has always loved shopping and picking out the perfect gift for everyone, took the lead that year, and it seems he has kept it ever since.

Not long after that, we did away with television. Not even in the least bit on purpose.  I wish I could say we had some grand piousness that caused us to sacrifice that which I depended on so greatly in my house (and bitterly, bitterly resisted any suggestion of its limitation!)  But the truth is, we disconnected our satellite to replace our roof one summer, and went a full month without it.  And we noticed something strange - not only could we survive without it, in the summer, no doubt! but we found we were better off.  So we decided since we had foolishly already paid for one month we had not used (no reason in particular, just that we kept forgetting to hook it back up) that instead of reconnecting the dish, we would disconnect the service all together.  And just like that the media's reach into my home plummetted.

Those two facts are important because they help me stay sane in the midst of a busy time of year.  In my house, we are not bombarded with Christmas marketing.  Because my kids don't attend public school there's no talk of which new toy to get this year, or making Christmas lists a mile long.  When the Sears wish book arrives on my driveway in September, I promptly toss it in the trash.  No disrepect to the fine folks who paid for it to be assembled, printed and delivered, but I am really starting to learn that I am the one in control of my immediate surroundings.  I didn't make it this way, but it just sort of happened - I found myself in a bubble.  And you know what?  I kind of like it there.

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as anyone.  But I have always been about the waiting, the anticipation. Growing up I was the child who never snooped for gifts, except that one time I did and discovered a pair of shoes my Mom bought me for Easter, and I felt so guilty I told her about it!  Never again did I want to spoil a surprise.  Waiting comes naturally to me.  And so Advent makes sense. I'm not over the top, I won't get mad if you wish me a Merry Christmas, nor will I correct my children if I catch them singing a Christmas tune (even if it's not about Jesus).  Our game plan this year is to just go with it, to be attentive to the rhythm of life at this season.  We are getting ready!  Getting ready for winter, for Christmas, for Jesus.  There is so much to do, and so many things we could never prepare for, that to plan away this season I feel would only be asking for disaster.

And again, lest you get the wrong impression of me, I have not set out to do this.  It just happened.  Not because I planned it this way, but because I didn't. I didn't plan to go to this event, or decorate on this day, or go shopping on this day.  In fact, I didn't really do anything out of the ordinary at all.  We went shopping one day last week, because my husband had a vacation day and his mother had kept the kids overnight, leaving us with a rare free day together.  We put the tree up this weekend, nearly three weeks after the start of Advent (we normally try to put it up the first week of Advent) because that was the first opportunity we had to do it.  We're keeping gifts simple this year, and we've just about finished all there is to get ready, save maybe putting up a few decorations and doing some baking.  But there are no plans for those either, I'll do them when I can, and trust the Lord to provide a time sometime in the next ten days.  It's all good.

I've been trying to do some extra reading.  I recently downloaded Steve Bell's e-book, "Pilgrimage/Advent" on Snippet (an app for iPhone/iPad) and it has been really great.  I have long been a fan of his music, but it is his storytelling that first drew me to him, and this book is a wonderful collection of stories, reflections and music.  It has been a real blessing.  Today I read these words, which really rested in my heart:

"During Advent, when Christians encourage the world to 'Keep Christ in Christmas,' we may do better yet and encourage each other to keep ourselves in Christmas. It is my sense that Christ really doesn't need our defense. It is we who have not understood our place in this astonishing story. We might ponder deeply, and internalize profoundly that this season is not just about revealing the truth of God, but the truth of humanity as well." (Steve Bell)

I had never thought of Advent in this way before.  And so, as we begin the third week of this season of preparation, I pray that the Lord will help to keep Christ in me as we approach the feast of the Nativity.  Christ born into the world, as a baby and through a person, what an amazing thing.  But it can't end there.  Because He's not just a person who lived and was born once, and died and went to Heaven.  He continues to live in each one of us, in me.  Christ born so long ago in a stable in Bethlehem - Christ born, at this very moment, in ever moment, in us.  How beautiful!

This Advent as we approach the Nativity in our Lord, may it be not just as a solemn event marking a holy day many years ago, but as an event taking place in our own hearts right now.  He is coming, He is coming, He is here!  Glory to God in the Highest!

1 comment :

  1. That is a pretty compelling parallel indeed. Btw, sorry to hear about you having to go on without the satellite. Have you encountered any problems repairing the roof? Was it your husband who did the job, or did you hire somebody else to do the job for you? Hope the roofing refinements that you got will make it worth your time.

    Joann @ AJC Roofing