Waiting

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Waiting..........

Waiting………. (Photo credit: davidyuweb)

“Mommy, get me some dessert!”

Nicholas stood at my right elbow. I looked pointedly at the pizza in my hand and back at him, but my coming-up-on-five-year-old is blissfully (or perhaps willfully) immune to messages sent via body language. Time for plan B.

“First of all,” I said, “that’s not how you ask. Second, am I still eating my dinner?”

“Yes.”

“Is Daddy still eating his dinner?”

“Yes.”

“Then you have to wait until we’re done. Sometimes you just have to wait for good things. Now sit down and be patient.”

He sat down, but patience was beyond him. As I returned to my pizza, he wiggled in place and then asked again.

In one way, I can sympathize. Waiting for good things is hard for anyone, and even more so for kids, who don’t have much practice at it. And yet at the same time, it’s a bit exasperating. It’s not as if there’s any question of him getting what he wants, after all. He knows very well that dessert is going to be served after dinner. It’s not like, for instance, the novel query process, where the outcome is far from certain.

Then again, waiting is hard for everyone who anticipates something good. The proof of that just passed us, in the form of Black Friday. I mean, Black Thanksgiving Thursday. All Black Friday’s Eve. Or something.

I have somewhat mixed feelings about this annual ritual. Actually, scratch that. My feelings about the nonsense that is Black Friday/Black Friday’s Eve are pretty unequivocal. And yet, for the last couple of years, Christian has actually gone out as early as the stores offer their blockbuster sales, because the system forces the issue:

1. Sales start at a given time and there are limited quantities.

2. If you don’t get there early, i.e. during the Thanksgiving evening hours, the sale price may be valid, but there won’t be any stock to buy.

The choices are, then: go shopping with the madhouse despite the gnashing of teeth caused by your conscience telling you this encroachment on holiday is just wrong; or stick to your conscience and accept that you will pay a lot more for the item you were going to buy anyway, if you can find it at all.

We should wait. But we don’t.

These are good avenues of thought to pursue on the second day of Advent. This is a season given to us to pause and take stock of the state of our lives. Where are we out of balance? What opportunities for rest and quiet are we barreling past with the radio at full volume? And what things desperately needed for our mental and emotional well-being are we losing as a result?

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Advent Wednesdays: Light

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Deutsch: Opferlichter

Deutsch: Opferlichter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I want to point you to a post by another blogger: Advent: On Seeing Light And Poverty. It’s been nearly two weeks, and I’m still turning this post over in my mind. Light is a central theme of Christianity: light of the world, Christ our light, light to the nations. When we pray for light, it’s because light symbolizes hope. Security. Warmth. Homeyness. All that is true, but until I read Rae’s post, the obvious never occurred to me: when the light is turned on we see everything more clearly, the bad as well as the good, the difficult and uncomfortable realities as well as that which uplifts us.

During Advent, light is used symbolically every night, in a progressively more expansive way each week. This year, I realize that if Jesus associated himself with the poor among us (as often as you did it for the least of these, you did it for me), then this season requires us to face the unpleasant realities, both in the world around us, as I wrote about on Monday, and in ourselves, as I wrote about yesterday.

Advent Wednesdays: Waiting

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What I love about the blogosphere is the way we can touch and be touched by people we’ve never met and may never meet face to face–yet we can all help each other along our spiritual journeys. (I started to say “life journey,” because it’s not only religious blogs that challenge and shape my thinking, but everything I encounter online. But the simple fact is that for me, all journeying is spiritual journeying.) Last week in the course of visiting other people’s blogs for 7QTs, I came across a reflection on Advent that brought my full-speed-ahead to a dead halt. I asked Jason, of Pannoneappetit, if he would allow me to share it here:

Advent wreath in darknessOf all the figures in the Infancy Narratives, the one who resonates most with me is Simeon.  Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting… for years… for the promised Child Whom the Lord revealed that he (Simeon) would see.  And then one day — Emmanuel appeared, and he held Him, blessed Him, and pronounced his terrible prophecy to our Lady (cf. Luke 2:22-38).

Waiting — in the digital age, what can be harder? Could I be like Simeon, waiting for seemingly endless years to see the Messiah, with death drawing ever closer?  Today, we expect to click a button online, and voila!  Something happens or appears instantaneously.  “Yes, God, I’ll choose the ‘See the Messiah’ option; charge it to my credit card and make it snappy, since I’ve got a holiday party to attend this evening.”

But we forget that history stretches farther back than five minutes ago. Salvation history unfolds slowly over centuries, until, in the fullness of time, when God entered human history directly in the Second Person of the Trinity, in the truly new and radical event of the Incarnation.  There are periods of preparation, sometimes centuries-long, before we are ready to behold the Messiah.
And Advent waiting is not passive.  It is a time of waiting, yes, but also of preparation for the Lord’s Incarnation.  It is a time of cleaning house, setting things in order, making the stable of the heart ready for the Lord to take His place therein.

To wait expectantly — not passively; to wait in humility — not trying to force my timetables or plans on God (as if I could)… to be more like Simeon this Advent, and beyond.  May it be so for me.

(Jason’s original post may be found here. You should visit him. He shares recipes.)

Cute Quick Takes

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___1___

You know you’re in a breastfeeding home when your three-year-old BOY says, “Mommy I gonna nuss da baby.” And you turn around to see this: Nicholas nursing small

(Notice the pulled-up shirt. Naked doll mandatory.)

___2___

Things to warm a Catholic mama’s heart: the boys dressing up in Indian clothes, going on a hunt-and-fish expedition, and setting an imaginary Thanksgiving feast in front of the couch, which they preface with the sign of the cross and “Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts…”

___3___

Nicholas came wailing down stairs one morning while Julianna was playing with SonoFlex (a communication app). “I can’t find any long pants!” he said. (End of the world, you know.) Julianna, at this precise moment, hit a button on the iPad and the electronic voice said dryly, “Are you kidding?”

___4___

Sunday night, we made Christmas cookies. We finished dipping peanut butter balls in chocolate, and I told the boys they could use spoons to clean out the bowl of paraffin and chocolate. Ten minutes later they came into the living room, where I was rocking Michael, with very red mouths lined with very black chocolate. Nicholas had chocolate all over him. “Nicholas, you have chocolate on your arm,” I said.

Alex piped up, “Yeah, he fell.”

“He fell in the chocolate?”

“Yeah.”

Okay, then.

___5___

Nicholas has not learned the fine art of secret keeping. I should have known this, but I thought I started including Alex about this age. We went shopping and had a pointed conversation about keeping it secret so it would be a surprise for Daddy. He came home and helped me wrap the present and put it under the tree.

And when Christian came home? “Daddy we got you TIES!”

When we all stopped laughing, I said, “That’s it, Nicholas, you’re fired from Christmas shopping!” Good thing that’s not his only gift.

___6___

I wrote a post for Catholic Mothers Online about celebrating saints’ days in Advent–the easy way. Here’s what we did as an Advent Calendar activity for St. Nicholas’ feast day yesterday:

St. Nicholas bread. Like his miter? (Mitre?)

St. Nicholas bread. Like his miter? (Mitre?)

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And I have a fiction piece up today, in which Dystopia might not be all bad. I’m happy with this one; I think it has potential.

Oh yes–bonus if you read the whole post: what my boys do while Christmas tree shopping:

Xmas Tree 046

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 199)

Advent Wednesdays: So You Want A Creative Calendar?

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Well, here you go. If you’re a make-it-yourself kind of person, you can try one of these lovely ideas:

First up, from my ever-awesome long-time friend and fan Shelley:

Second, from the lovely Elizabeth at That Married Couple comes this (click the picture to read her post on what she’s chosen to do as an Advent countdown! If you think a daily activity is too much, this might be right up your alley):

The website Inspirations For Home has several to offer, including this:

This one is adaptable to all kinds of ideas–I’ve seen this done using stars of david, for instance, instead of tags

and this:

Another perennial favorite is the mitten garland calendar (this one is paper, but you can do it with real mittens too; see here for an example):

 
Photo by Anders Ruff Custom Designs, via Flickr

Do you have a crafty or creative take on the Advent calendar? Please share!