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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Waiting for Advent

   The gearing up has begun, the frenzy of to do lists, shopping, preparations, planning and parties.  And Advent is coming...

  I love advent, and perhaps this year, like no other, I've been waiting for this season... of waiting.  Because I want to be still, and listen, and take time to wonder.  To wonder in the sense of being in awe, of tasting the mystery, of paying attention to the Divine.

  This is not passive waiting... there is a purpose, an intent, to focus on the important, what really matters.

  Recently I spent a day in retreat with a number of lovely women and our topic that day was Psalm 130.

Psalm 130
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I wait for the Lord, my whole 
being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
  for with the Lord is unfailing love
    and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from all their sins.

  What struck me in this beautiful Psalm is the waiting... waiting for God.
  Five times, the waiting.

  What are we waiting for?  I see there is unfailing love.  And redemption. Waiting for God.  Isn't that what Christmas is all about?  Such wonderful gifts for a broken world.

  There are days where I just long to fix it all... and in my work there is lots of waiting, many waiting rooms.  And I see people wait differently... some are anxious, even pacing, or fidgeting, it is painful to watch.  Others cast down, heads low.  Others are watchful.  Yet others are peaceful, even being productive in waiting... reading, knitting, working on quiet projects.  Others taking the time to visit, taking interest in others around them, even making friends with strangers.

  It is not easy, this waiting thing.

  There have been periods in my life which have felt like months and even years of hard waiting... not knowing the outcome, praying, at times giving up, yearning, losing hope, then finding it again.

  It seems it is part of this journey we call life, and it is often in the waiting, in the stops along our journey, that we learn the lessons, the rich lessons that I believe God has for us.

  So Advent... to me, it is like a practical activity that reminds us to wait, to be expectant, to believe that there will be redemption, that there is hope, and always unfailing love.

  Practically, I want to play it out in a number of ways this year...in my own personal drawings and writings, and in creating Advent play for some of my grandchildren.

  This week I pulled out the old Advent Calendar I made for my children when they were little, and spent a good part of a day planning out how we would celebrate Advent together.  Our calendar has pockets, so yes, there can be treats, but there is usually an activity, something to do in this waiting season.  Making cards, creating nativity scenes, there are so many lovely things to do with children as we teach them the significance of Advent and waiting.

  So blessings to you and yours... as we enter this holy season.


Saturday, November 15, 2014


   I cleaned out my linen closet today.

  It was a good day to pull out all those quilts, Christmas linens, winter blankets.  Yesterday we ceremoniously adorned the bed with flannel sheets, an annual occasion.

  Going through quilts reminds me of mom.  Up went her Christmas hanging today, and the place mats she lovingly  made were brought out for the Christmas season.

  Tomorrow is her birthday.

  I've sat with a number of people this week at the hospital... some saying their last good-byes to their moms, and my heart always remembers as I watch their tears.  I want to wrap them in love, these holy moments, these hard moments, and know that this too is a part of our temporal lives.  One we don't always want to think about.

  It doesn't matter how old your mother was... you will always miss her, perhaps even more when she is gone.

  I long to call her some days... she was always so interested in my life, my stories, my happenings, keenly interested and caring.  I'd like to know how she is doing, up there in heaven.  Is there tea parties?  Is she having a blast hanging out with her own mom?

  There is something cozy about a wonderful mother.... I think about this sometimes as I cuddle my mom's namesake, now 14 months old, and this little one nestles into my chest and we just sit...all cozy and warm and contented.

  Sorting the quilts today brought me back to remembering mom.... she made many quilts in her last years, quilting room always set up, pieces carefully laid out, or pinned on the wall.  We'd talk about her projects, and for whom she was creating them for.  And we all share this legacy of love, wrapped up, stitch by stitch.

  So I lavishly have quilts everywhere, runners, hangings, quilts adorning our beds.  It warms the house, it brings cozy to the chill of November and the coming winter.  It reminds me of the love of a mother.

  I love bringing quilts to the hospital too... I handed out four of them recently... all lovingly made by the quilters group I know, each stitched with love.  There is something powerful about giving a quilt, about wrapping a person with love, and telling them how precious they are... to God, to others.

  There is comfort in cozy.  I think I might just wrap myself in a quilt tonight, have a cup of tea with my husband, turn on the fireplace and cherish the moment.

  Happy Birthday, Mom.
                                                            Our wedding quilt... lovingly made by mom.