Sunday, November 27, 2016

Falling into Advent Though I Am Not Ready

I created this graphic using photos I've taken of flowers in order to make the candles the traditional purple
and pink used on Advent wreaths.  I used a photo of leaves for the green of the wreath and the photo
of a bright yellow flower for the flame.  The way things have been going, this might be the only Advent
wreath I put up anywhere this holiday season.  We shall see.

It didn’t feel like last Thursday was Thanksgiving.  This was the first year in several that Kevin wasn’t scheduled to work on Turkey Day.  It’s just our luck that my husband and I spent the day at home in our pajamas instead of together feasting with family or even close friends.

We felt it was too big a risk for either of us to be around family members who had recently been sick with a very bad cold.  Though she was doing better than the previous three days, my mom wasn’t anywhere close to 100% when she made the apple pie the night before or started cooking the turkey the next morning.  She explained that she would sit down for a while and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, then she’d get up and do something else to prepare the feast, clean, set the table, etc.    

For a variety of reasons, neither Kevin nor I have seen much of my family in recent months.  I’d been looking forward to us all gathering at my mom’s, the one central location where all of us know we are loved and welcome anytime.  I figured I had a good chance of getting to hold our niece once more and hang out with our nephew for a bit. 

It wasn’t meant to be.  I thought of going to this once-a-year feast, especially since I really wanted to see everyone, but I knew Kevin was wise in advising against it under the circumstances.  We had to settle for a couple slices of turkey bacon cooked in the microwave and apple slices in place of roasted turkey with gravy and homemade apple pie.

After having worked in retail for a number of years, most recently at Best Buy, Kevin has a particular loathing of Black Friday.  I slept until noon.  Kevin conked out on the couch for most of the afternoon. 

We got dressed so we could go meet our friend John, who we hadn’t seen in months before he drove back to seminary in Baltimore.  We ate dinner together at Nanking and caught up a little.  It was kind of awkward to spend time together after not having much contact of any kind with John this fall.  The three of us confirmed that we still love, care about, and pray for one another even if the time between phone calls, texts, and visits has increased. 

Kevin asked if I wanted to listen to my music on the way home, by which he meant the Christian radio station I like.  I turned it on and when I heard Christmas music, I promptly shut it off.  I explained that I wasn’t ready, yet.  We’d barely had Thanksgiving.  I wasn’t ready for Christmas. 

I suppose my “I’m-not-ready!” reaction has a great deal to do with the fact that Kevin and I have had some very stressful, totally unexpected major health challenges and other crises to deal with over the past four months.  In fact, so much has gone on that I still feel the need to process most of it though we’re being dragged or thrown into the next whirlwind of activity and uncertainty before the last storm has cleared up. I realize that’s life—one thing going wrong right after another—but without the slightest break, I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed. 

While others are eating Thanksgiving leftovers, zipping about doing their Christmas shopping, putting up their tree, signing family photo greeting cards, and pulling out their holiday recipes, I’ve found myself wanting to hide from all of it.  I need more time to process what’s gone on these past four months and integrate it into my life and adjust accordingly to prepare properly for the future. 

It has dawned on me that I have been much more concerned of late about getting my body ready for my upcoming surgery than I have in planning and preparing my heart and mind for the coming of Christ.  Perhaps, therein lies the lesson.  Something is seriously amiss if I am neglecting the preparation of my body, mind, and/or spirit for Christ’s coming. 

What would happen if I spent as much time getting my mind and heart ready for Christmas as I have in making plans for this surgery?  Well, I'd bet that by the end of Advent, I’d be a better bassinet for Baby Jesus. 
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