Sunday, December 03, 2017

The First Sunday in Advent

December 3rd, 2017

The First Sunday of Advent

I rummage around in a box of old candles

which we have accumulated lo, these many years, -

and I find the stub of a little purple

wax wonder.

I put it in a small brass cup passed down

from my grandmother's house

first putting a bit of wax in the bottom

to make it stand true and sturdy.

Then I set it alight in the middle of the table,

and left it glowing while I breakfasted

and contemplated Advent.


There is Lent

and then there is Advent

and somehow Advent 

has always been for me

the time of soul searching...

busy as it is, with glitter and greenery,

it has always meant for me a time of

small quiet minutes in the midst of baking

or wrapping, or writing cards of love and greeting....

a time of wonder at the reality of our life,

here on earth,

and what it is meant to be.

" Emanuel
You come in silence
to my world of crooked noisy places,
places rough with agendas
that leave me bruised,
spirit light low,
a bare glowing ember.

Emmanuel
I will give you quiet moments,
bits of silence stolen
in the clamor of the streets.

Let my silence straighten
a way for you
to smooth my rough spots,
to heal my bruised spirit,
to fan my faith's faint flame,
to prepare in me a vessel
for your incarnation."

A poem by Lisa Wells Isenhower
for which I have much empathy.

and I am reminded too of Mary Oliver's lovely poem

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good,
you do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

When the children were growing up
Sunday dinner in the Advent season always included
an Advent Wreath
which the children took turns lighting.

There was also a little box of names to draw from,
and to be kept secret throughout the week,
but with the understanding
(and expectation)
that you would do something kind for that person
each day.




I hope this is a memory they have.....
and that it was an opportunity for them
to widen their thoughts beyond
Santa Claus
and the Christmas Pageant.

Post Script
I think that I was rather a naive mother...
as a matter of fact, the older I get and the more they confide 
(or reveal) 
the more I realize that this was surely the case.....

5 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

I do love the Mary Oliver poem above Hildred. It never fails to move me. I love your header too.

Barb said...

Do you have water in that bowl of Paper Whites, Hildred? Can the bulbs stay in water? I have 3 that are sprouting and one with 2 buds. (Also an amaryllis that is going nowhere so far.) I keep them all on the top of bud vases so only the bottoms are in water - I was afraid of rotting them. I am familiar with the Oliver poem but like the other too. Taking time for quiet thoughts/memories (and kindness) is important. In this busy time of the year, it’s easy get too rushed! You’re right - sometimes the way I remember things and the way the grown children remember ithe same things are totally different! I prefer if they don’t gang up on me when they think I’m remembering wrong!

Hildred said...

Water in the bowl, Barb, but only skimming the roots. The bulbs themselves sit on pebbles. I think the bulbs would rot if they were in water, - eventually. All should be well with only the bottoms reaching for water....and they should be in bloom for Christmas!!!!

Chip Butter said...

Such a lovely post, Hildred. A naïve mother, perhaps, but a wonderful mother, for sure! I dearly love the Mary Oliver poem!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I think naivete might be the thing that got all of us through the years of raising children .. if we had known everything then .... That said, I'm quite sure your children still to this day remember those Christmas traditions fondlly. Thank you for the Mary Oliver, and for all of the beautiful words.