It was the first Sunday of Advent—a time, if there ever was one, to make my whirling brain shut up and listen to the readings at church. Unfortunately, I also had a four-year-old asking me to read The Clown of God. So I was running through the words in a whisper, trying to listen, when the words pierced my fuzzy brain like a laser beam:
Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise.
Carousing and drunkenness are not a problem for me…but anxieties? That word was written with me in mind! (And many of you, too, I’m sure.)
This was the day I wrote that broken prayer—the day when I felt that although no circumstance lasts forever, my own attitude would keep me rounding the same queasy merry-go-round of exhaustion and spreading myself too thin.
And then, you all spoke to me, offering words of encouragement, being the Body of Christ to me, lifting prayers on my behalf, and reminding me that we live to love each other in action and kindness and charity. Maybe it was nothing but coincidence, but that was the night that Nicholas went back to sleep.
We have begun our second year of the Advent Reclamation Project. We read our Jesse Tree scriptures every night, lighting our purple candles, opening the doors on the Advent Calendar to see what magic it offers for the day. Every night, Alex goes outside and turns on the lights, sending them blazing across time and space to reflect back to us and remind us that we are waiting for a VIP’s arrival—not in a manger (that happened millennia ago), but here and now.
Here at the start of this Advent, I am realistic. I know that the anxieties of life will always be around. I know that sometimes, I will handle them with inSpired grace, and other times I will face-plant in the muck. I know that I will not always succeed in keeping a positive attitude and a grateful heart. And this is a good lesson for me. It reminds me that as I have been lifted up by others, so I must lift up others in turn.
For more Advent reflections, visit A Holy Experience: