Advent means several things. Preparation, repentance, counting down, shopping for Christmas. My favorite definition is, 'To Wait.'
"Time makes you bolder, children get older...and I'm getting older too." Stevie Nicks
Heading towards fifty, I'm realizing that lines on my face, symbolize trenches digging deep in experience and growth in spirit. The older I get, the less I like the commercialism of Christmas.
Like Andrew Wyeth's love of fall and winter, rather than spring and summer, I'm recognizing a bare bones beauty in the skeletel elements of nature, and likewise, personal seasons that seem uncluttered, unflowered.
Traditionally, we put our tree up later than most people. This year, I wanted it up Thanksgiving weekend because I thought the college boys home on break would enjoy it. Alas, the time went too fast, and the basement got a good cleaning instead by Scott. He needed rent money.
The first Sunday of Advent, Paul and I spent at Mass at a small church in Hayesville. It was so intimate, so appropo for the season. In front of the altar was placed a small pine tree with huge pine cones and a birch bark-like trunk as the planter. I was taken with the fresh green needles. It needed no lights, no sparkle. It was fine the way it was.
Trees are shed of their leaves, to let in as much heat and light as possible. Weather forecasts are dropping in temperature, as we add layers to warm our bodies. Soups are brewing, fires are lighting, and Christmas carols are playing.
Its in the music that I recognize an epiphany. I'm drawn to Mary, great with child, great with wonder in her experience as God's chosen vessel. I find a parallel in my own journey as a Mom. I've often pondered how special it is to become a mother, for the first and consecutive times. It is a longing and a familiarity that makes me adore the Christ child and love his mother.
I posted a song called, Agnus Dei, sung by Amy Grant. When I find a song, it gets played, over and over. The first few times, I wept with longing, yet joy. I thought of my son, Scott who just returned to Nashville for a couple weeks before Christmas break. The lilting reverence of the music, made me miss him. Simultaneously, I worshipped Jesus, deep and intimate (there is that word again.)
I played another song, that purposely, I save for Advent. It's called, 'Sing, Mary, Sing' by Jennifer Knapp. I felt a kindred spirit with Our Lady. There is a sweetness there that if skipped, the birthday would not contain the same punch, the same glory.
I figured it out. It's all connected. The preparation and waiting is the private part, similar to pregnancy. Christmas Day is the celebration, the shared glorious event. I love both.