There are tons of signs I am getting ready for Advent. Firstly, I have gifts to wrap and cards to write and post, and in my head this is the thing I do before Advent, so I can participate fully. So guess what? Everything is just sitting there, with no time scheduled in to do these things. What a good starting point to reflect on my humanness and await the divine....
But it has been Bonfire Night. I know in the USA that the holiday season – and Starbucks squabbles – hit as soon as Halloween was done, but here in England we had the death of a revolutionary to celebrate. Guy Fawkes’ Night meant two weeks of pretty incessant fireworks. We had spontaneous firework and bonfire craft at home, and FabDad took the three eldest sisters to a firework display. 4thSister and I watched one from the window.
|Tissue paper bonfire and fireworks|
Speaking of dead revolutionaries, everyone in our house is being made to listen to Hamilton: The Musical which 1stSister picked up on even before I realised Hallie Lord had. My life may be complete – a historical musical with rap. It sounds terrible written down, but listening to it, it is amazing. The rhyming couplets and cheeky references (Gilbert and Sullivan operettas anyone?) are MAKING ME SO HAPPY.
It is another sign that I am ‘getting ready for Advent’ when I start to procrastinate and listen to musicals rather than actually doing much.
Thankfully despite being on placement at a different church for the next month or so, I am helping with a Songs of Praise service on the 1st Sunday of Christmas so I’ve just spent a couple of hours absorbed in Jesse Tree stuff, Bible readings, prayers and poems to celebrate Christmas – and if that isn’t getting Advent-y I don’t know what is J
When my 5 year old asked whether we were going to get the candles of all different colours out and light them, I didn’t ask her seven times whether or not she meant the rainbow candle 1st Sister had made, I straight away piped up “you mean the Advent Candles, don’t you?”
Finally – there is an extra compline service at church for Tuesdays in Advent which is in my diary. I am finally back on my feet fully post-op and scheduling in time with friends, the outdoors, playtime with small children and enjoying dates with my husband. It is requiring A LOT of self-discipline to balance everything within our domestic unit so I am relying on a lot of prayer. Advent gives me an opportunity to revisit my rule of life, in a way that’s slightly less penitential than Lent and slightly more about delayed gratification (mustn’t eat the Christmas goodies before it’s time, now.) I don’t really want to wait to get my act together this year, because I want to make the time to wait on Him properly. It’s inevitable in my humanness that there will be things that slip through the net. I know regular prayer won’t get the gifts wrapped. But it gives me a starting point, the very best starting point of all.