The Advent Writings, Day 1: Introit

Introit – enter, go in or into; invade
(Source: William Whittaker’s Words)
Advent – preparing, getting ready, anticipation, expectation…
(Source: Cal’s Questionable Randomness)
Last Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent. Now, for those from traditions where the Church Year isn’t followed or celebrated, you might not know what that is. Feel free to Google that baby, and come right back.
(insert theme from “Jeopardy”)
(repeat theme from “Jeopardy”)
(insert sound of crickets)
(add sound of foot tapping)
(and a heavy sigh or two)
Alright, welcome back. Although I must ask, did you really HAVE to check your Facebook and Twitter on the way back? Really? Ok…
The thing I love about Advent, and the thing that made me miss it when we were at a church that didn’t celebrate it, is that sense of preparation – taking time in the days leading up to Christmas to prepare for the celebration, to mindfully approach the reason we celebrate, rather than having the holidays rush up and flatten us like a steamroller.
Last year, I was steamrollered.
Now, this was a gestalt thing. Huh? You don’t know “gestalt?” Well, go Googl… no. I barely got you back last time. I’ll handle this…
Gestalt = “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”
That’ll be enough to carry on with – feel free to explore further. Gestalt is one of those things that help me understand how my world works (or doesn’t work sometimes). Anyway, last year I was in my first year post-surgery, still in the middle of the mental chaos and not really recognizing myself yet. Still not working, still learning all the things that go with my new life, still wondering what hit me, what was still kicking my butt, and where it would all lead.
Now, top that with a large dose of holiday madness, seasonal overcommitment, and much, much shorter days for someone who has SAD (look it up – on your own time), and you’ve got a happy season but not a happy camper. Any part of this is bearable – put it all together, and gestalt makes it a stone around your neck. The relief came in the form of a white-knuckle drive to Missouri, a truly amazing Christmas spent with dear family, and taking January off to think, to write, and to let the dust settle.
So I’m a little anxious about Advent this year. And am determined to NOT have a replay of the previous year. (Except for the Missouri thing. I SO wish we could go back, but that’s not the plan this year. It’ll be nice to have Christmas at home, in our church with our friends and family, but Missouri was AMAZING!) So here begins the writings of Advent. I’m going to try and write each day of Advent, starting now, and use my blog to keep myself grounded. I want to get to Christmas day with a joyful, thankful heart, overwhelmed with the reality of God’s son, not only as the babe in the manger, but the living, loving Lord of my life today and every day.
I have two, possibly three extra things on my calendar for this month, and that’s it. (Hopefully, anyway – if someone named DeVos or VanAndel happened to call and say “we need some whistle background for a gala event,” yeah, I’d take that call… Come to think of it, if someone named [insert any name here, including yours] happened to call and say “we’re having a Sunday School / Small Group / Senior Saints / Church Banquet / YouGetTheIdea gathering and want some background music,” yeah, I’d take that call. I love to play, especially Christmas music, and I only have one gig on the books to play at this year. I might take my windsynth along to Christmas dinner this year, just to get to play my faves… we’ll see. :-D)
Other than that, I’m keeping things out of the schedule. Work projects, they continue. Voice work for WCSG, check. Editing work, yes. But extra parties, activities, etc? Not so much. A few mindful things with friends, time to watch some of my favorite Christmas movies (The Polar Express! A Christmas Carol – the Patrick Stewart version, which rocks the world!), but most importantly, time to listen, to think, to read and to write. In this way, I hope to prepare, to heal, to get ready, and to mindfully celebrate the joy of our Savior’s birth.
The Advent Writings will give me a place to express wonder and joy, a place to shed some sadness from the past, to ask some questions of the present, and to look to the future, when our Christmas joy is made real and our faith is made sight. Thanks to all 1.394217 of you (we’ve lost a few since I last counted, but hey – it’s the holidays) for joining me for this ride. Hopefully God will use these random babblings to get our eyes on Advent, on Jesus, and on being ready for the coming of the King – then AND now and to come.
“Oh come to my heart, Lord Jesus – there is room in my heart for Thee.”

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