For as long as I can remember, Advent had always been about buying gifts for others, gleefully wrapping those precious littles, choosing the right cards and happily posting them. As a young woman, when I returned to my parents’ home every weekend, it was all about cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. In my younger days with my parents, the kitchen would be in a storm come Advent. But as with everything else in that old life lived amongst shadows, nothing good took root for long.
When I married and the children came, and the sun spilled gold into my life, Christmas gifts didn’t feature as prominently because my husband and I didn’t want the children to grow up associating Christmas with gifts. So, while we did buy them new clothes, we did it casually. My in-laws were good, simple people not given to gift-giving nor to receiving gifts. I soon discovered that the best gift I could give them was to do the Christmas cooking and give them the break they deserved.
My life became a lot simpler and much of the fussy flounces and ruffles I came with got trimmed with marriage. Yet, the noise in my spirit was as loud as ever each Advent, with the frenzy I got myself into cleaning and polishing my own home, cooking and baking. As the children grew up, Advent also became a time to nourish them in a special way, and I spent looooooooong hours making up Christmas story booklets, Yuletide worksheets and angel coloring cutouts.
I was more than weary by the time the joyous pink Christmas morn rent the purple~blue bosom of the old vigil.
This year, Advent has tiptoed in gently. I’m sensing an inner tug to tread the mossy paths of quiet and hidden wait. I hear the angels’ call to will quiet into my Advent, moving away from the enticing frenzy that only Christmas can bud and bloom. It is not a drastic change that I seek, to the way I have always coloured the tingling weeks of November and December. I will still clean and bake and cook and teach, but I pray for a deep stillness to permeate every crease and layer of my soul, to water every dry and distracted crack and burrow, with the dew of blessed waiting.
This year, I lean my spirit against heaven’s door, and ask for the grace of a silent and faithful vigil that blooms pure, yet, hidden, alongside the calls of life and living.