The Advent candle wall hangings are up on the wall again. It's that time of year.
The word Advent comes from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming, arrival.” It’s a part of the church year that marks the time until we can celebrate Christmas, Jesus’ birthday. It’s a period of waiting.
And for those of us who are in the midst of the pandemic – which is the whole world, really – the word has a double meaning.
We are also waiting for the arrival of normalcy, when this pandemic is over. We are waiting for the arrival of the vaccine and holding our breath, hoping that Covid will not touch our family and our friends before then. We are waiting to feel the arms of those we love around us once again, when we can hug and kiss freely, when we can rock that newborn grandchild, or hold the hands of our beloved elders. We are waiting.
But until then, how do we pass the time? In the centuries before Jesus was born, the people of Israel were also waiting for the Messiah who had been promised by the prophets. How did they pass the time, marking off the days, weeks, months, years, centuries, and millenia?
From what I can tell, they kept on keeping on. Right foot, left foot, march. Breathe. Repeat. They sowed their crops, harvested the grapes, tended the sheep and goats, pressed the olives. They got married, had children, celebrated feasts, studied and learned at the feet of the teachers. They shared stories and encouraged each other – “just a little longer,” they said. “This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice ... just for today... and be glad in it.” They had a life.
And so do we. It may not be the life we would like, but it is the life we have. And so we keep on keeping on – mask on, mask off, 6 feet of distance, washing hands over and over, staying put and waiting.
There are times that we are tired of it all. We experience the darkest hour of the night, when we cannot see any glimmer of light and promise. We are at the bottom of the covid coaster, and there doesn’t seem to be any way up.
Ah, but there are other days when we put one foot in front of the other, and all goes well. We finish a project, have a great conversation over Skype with a grandchild, pick up a good book at the library, listen to "The Messiah" curled up on our sofa all afternoon, see a dear friend coming up the sidewalk to have a distanced conversation outside. Now we are riding high on the covid coaster. We experience brightness, a lightness that keeps us going for a while again.
And that, dear ones, is how we will get through this. “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” And we will encourage each other, make the phone calls that give someone joy, tend our houseplants and scrub our floors (not too often, though!), decorate for Christmas even if nobody is coming. We will remember that in less than two weeks, the longest dark day will be past and we’ll be heading to the light. We will finish half-forgotten projects, share books, send each other funny cartoons on FB, give generously to those who are less fortunate...well, the list goes on. If you are so inclined, please share in the Comments section how you are marking off the days and I will pass on your stories in future blogs.
There are two things I want to share with you, that have helped me mark the days this fall. For years, the Resident Sweetie and I have been involved with a committee that organizes a display of Nativity sets at our church, usually held at the beginning of December.
We tried to make it work again this year, but rising cases of Covid put the kibosh on that. Instead, the church encouraged us to create a YouTube recording of a virtual visit to the display. You can view it here by accessing our church website at www.cvpc.ca You’ll find a link there. Enjoy the photos, music, stories and more. Covid, it turns out, has a silver lining: now we can share this event with an audience that stretches around the world. If you enjoy this virtual visit, please share the link with others who might enjoy it too.
The second project I’ve been working on is a fun one. Our granddaughter Grace turned six in November, and we gave her a Playmobil nativity set as a gift.
(Of course, we would!) But we kept the wise men and the camel back. Now the wise men are making their way to Bethlehem (aka Nanaimo, where Grace lives), and we are photographing their journey every day, and telling a story to go with it. If you wish to follow Gaspar, Melchior, Balthazar and Miranda (the camel), check out the FB page Wise Men’s Quest for the Star. (https://www.facebook.com/Wise-Mens-Quest-for-the-Star-105763731375753/?view_public_for=105763731375753)
You’ll have to scroll down all the way to Nov. 29, when I posted for the first time, and then work your way up. If you have grandchildren who might enjoy this story, pass on the link. Grace’s parents share this ongoing story with her and her 2 year old brother Mitchell every second or third day, and Grace often wants to hear the whole story from the very beginning. That makes me smile, and it keeps the covid coaster traveling on the upside.
Blessings to you as you mark the days traveling through advent to the light.
Hi, Jessie. The 'journey' is very cute! It looks like the big people had a lot of fun staging it. I love the guy packing the umbrellas and the camel on the roof of the car. It made me smile.ReplyDelete