So here we are at Advent Sunday, the beginning of the Church’s year. Confusing, isn’t it? I guess some of us are trying to juggle several different schedules here: My 2018 diary is filling at a steady rate, resulting in part of me being several months ahead of myself already. All this before we even begin on the rampant commercialism of the retail trade, with a Christmas season that seems to begin as the Halloween displays have barely been cleared away.
Then I love church celebrations, and only a grinch would ban all carols, concerts and general mayhem during Advent, although by the Day itself, I’m sure a lot of folk are carolled out, sleep deprived and sick of the sight of mince pies!
I’m one of those who steadfastly refuses to put up their home decorations until the 23rd December, only to suffer agonies of embarrassment at not taking them down until Twelfth Night! Oh, and the crib stays up until Candlemas. I will have my potted version of the liturgical year if it kills me!
The trouble is, that even when we do try to keep a ‘good’ Advent, (whatever that is), life is always going to get in the way. What do you do when your mood just won’t work in sync with the liturgical calendar? As Susan Pitchford, author and Franciscan, says in her thoughtful reflection Advent, Christmas, and the Messiness of Wombs,
It’s a time when I want predictability and control, and instead I get messiness and surprise….I want something controllable, but what I get is life.
Maybe the best course of action is to give thanks for the blessings of home, food, warmth and company of loved ones, light another Advent candle, (or in our house, an electric tea light), against the darkness, try to be the light for others in that darkness, and wait… I suspect that the spirit is perfectly capable of working beyond the confines of our self-imposed schedules.