The third verse of my favorite Advent hymn reads:

” Match the present to the promise, Christ will come again. Make this hope your guiding premise, Christ will come again. Pattern all your calculating and the world you are creating to the advent you are waiting, Christ will come again.”

Advent is a season of reflection and waiting. As the church year begins anew, we hear the prophets fill our hearts with hope with their words of a coming inbreaking of the presence of God among us. We hear their words of a coming peace for all the earth, and marvel in joy together with Mary and Joseph that God continues to be at work in the world and in our lives, choosing us to be a part of an age-old narrative of love.

It’s a meaningful time of reflective waiting and anticipation, as we look toward the star and the tiny manger in the rustic stable of an overcrowded inn. I have missed advent in the year behind me, and longed for it to come and invite me into quietness. I still miss advent, I realized last week as the second of the 4 candles of advent was lit in our worship service. “Where did advent go?” I asked myself. My self responded, “it went into your (A earning!) work for Dr. Chee’s class, supporting your spouse in his dreams while evolving dreams of your own, and helping to shoulder a burden of care for your friend and her mother in all of Alzheimers’ cruel antics.” Well, that’s true, I thought.

The following weekend after the second Sunday of Advent (this past weekend), however was a rare gem of pure rest and holiday cheer. Friday arrived and the only thing on the agenda was picking up our two newest family members: 2 guinea pigs we named Abbott and Costello. The previous owners were allergic and devastated, until they met me, Oliver’s former subject (may he rest in peace) and after seeing some truly ridiculous pictures of how it’s possible to over-love a Guinea pig, their concerns were soothed away and they happily sent us away with a huge habitat, 2 piggies, and shavings and food for at least 3 months. I didn’t show them the Easter portrait of Oliver with some tulips on a chair, because I might have scared them off from letting me re-home their piggies.

Pre-piggy pickup, we enjoyed a rare meal out, at Waffle House to cover breakfast and lunch, then AJ got a haircut and I got Christmas crafting supplies at Joanne’s. We made it home around 5 where I immediately strained the stock I had made the night before from the cornish hen we’d shared for dinner. I put the stock in a soup pot with 2 bags of frozen veggies and many spices. We enjoyed a warming meal of soup and arepas (corn flour disks griddled in butter) while we watched Christmas movies, bonded with the piggies and made sugar cookie dough to roll out the next day.

On Saturday, we slept in, ate brunch, bonded with the piggies, then he read and I crafted for the better part of an entire Saturday together, which are few and far between. We had stir fried veggies for lunch and leftover soup for dinner, and I crafted my heart out with the rough, plastic -based yarn I got at Joanne’s to make crochet kitchen scrubbies. While I crocheted, we talked, watched Christmas movies and enjoyed being off work at the same time, together. Most importantly, we rolled sugar cookies for decorating later and experimented with a recipe for peanut butter oatmeal scotchies.

On Sunday, we lit the advent candle of joy, and I felt full of joy even in light of the long day ahead. The candle of joy burned through the service and though I snuffed it out myself after worship, the joy from rest in my heart did not snuff out. The weekend culminated in an opportunity to wear my sparkly dress from Alicia’s wedding and a spectacular time of listening to live Christmas music by soloists and stellar choirs. Christmas On Clairemont was a fabulous time of Christmas cheer and merriment; and joy, which was possible because of the restful weekend; a reclaimed advent, I had enjoyed and relished.

AJ and I have some waiting to do, some things we anticipate and changes we hope for; as we wait to hear if he’s adapted into a PhD program. A wildly competitive process with no guarantees has us feeling pretty antsy at times.

This season became particularly meaningful last night as I heard wonderful renditions of my favorite songs. In high school, I arranged a Soprano, Soprano, Alto version of Do You Hear What I Hear, which paled (nay, disappeared) in comparison to the version I heard at Christmas on Clairemont. It was like coming in out of a cold night, with a wintry mix swirling through the air; to find a mug of cocoa with whipped cream and cinnamon waiting by a crackling fire, butterscotch pie on the fancy Christmas china, and carolers outside the window: comforts of the season, in the angst of waiting.

In advent, waiting becomes peaceful; an invitation to live in the moment with peace and love, while looking ahead to the future, with hope.

What is the advent your are waiting?

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