Oh, this poor little neglected blog of mine.
This Advent has not gone exactly as planned. Not at all as planned, actually. There’s been a month’s worth of sickness and many, many things have just been laid aside. I am ashamed to say I’ve turned to store-bought craft kits to keep M busy. There is nothing wrong with these really, but they aren’t exactly the memory-making activities I had hoped for. Maybe we will get to them during the actual Christmas season (which lasts from Christmas day to Epiphany), or maybe not. I am thankful to just be well and functioning again, to be honest.
M was sick the first week of Advent, and then for almost two weeks it was my turn. I was couch-bound, watching the house get messier and messier through feverish eyes, and not caring. That nasty flu finally caught up with this anti-flu-shot girl, and gave me quite a beating. We all had it to a degree, but somehow I was the lucky winner of the worst case. Poor M was getting his own breakfast and lunch most days! He felt very proud, but it hurt this mama’s heart a tiny bit to see him taking care of himself like that. And then I had an awful case of pink eye, you know, just to round things off nicely. That meant no cuddling or snuggling with anyone, which after being sick for a long time is just incredibly depressing!
But somehow I was given the grace to realize that Advent is all about waiting and hoping and remembering just exactly where to look for the joy. I woke up on Joy Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent), unable to go to church, again. And I wondered, just what was it I was supposed to be joyful about? None of my plans were actually happening, the house was a disaster, and I was being treated like a pink-eyed leper.
But time and time again, these past few months, I’ve been brought to a place where I’m gently reminded that fulfillment, joy, etc. are not found in plans, good times, or even health. Joy is found in placing hope – confident hope – in God and His goodness and love and mercy. Hoping for what I know is coming… Who I know is coming. Each evening of this Advent when we’ve managed to have our little devotional time, M places a straw (length of yarn) in our manger and whispers, “Come, Baby Jesus, be born in our hearts.” The simple and even boring Advent that has been our lot this year has, in the end, become a greater blessing in a way than a lot of fun and good times could ever be (although fun and good times are blessings too!). Our emptiness is slowly being filled with an amazing sense of anticipation – the joy of knowing that what we truly hope for, what we most need, is coming soon.
We are better this week, finally getting back to normal. But we are not going to try to fit a lot in. We are going to work on preparing our fantastically messy home and our hearts for the Love that is on its way. I’m just going to go slowly through the days, and savor the sense of anticipation as much as I can.
M has recently discovered Johnny Cash, and as I write this, Hey Porter is on (blaring even, you might say), and these particular lines are perfect:
“Go tell that engineer to make
that lonesome whistle scream.
We're not so far from home,
so take it easy on the steam.”