Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Advent and our messiness

Yesterday's post was about my ability to quickly untidy a space when I'm planning or working on a project. My questions at the end of the post invited you to reassure me that I'm not the only mess maker.......some of you did that, thank you!

So, today as I opened up my companion book for the season of Advent, my eyes fell upon an underlining that I had made in the introduction section. It was this -

"Christmas forces us to deal with all the mess of our humanity in the context of God who has already entered that mess in the glorious birth of Jesus."

First off I want to make it clear that my studio space, in no way, shape or form, even at its worst, resembles the mess of our humanity. However, it does seem uncanny when I think of messes - that God loved us so much that he came amongst us in and through the birth of Jesus Christ. Came amongst us in the mess that I'm so capable of making in my life; a place where I could definitely do a better day to day job in remembering to love God and to love my neighbors as myself!

My hope and plans are to remember and to exhibit how grateful I am for the blessed Christmas season for which I prepare during Advent. My prayer is that you and I will take the time each day to offer up thanksgiving for all the good in our lives and for the courage to straighten out all our messes as quickly and as lovingly and as forgivingly as we can manage.

After all, preparing for Christmas is something other than shopping and eating.........a point I try to keep that in mind when everything just gets too crazy. I am using the same book as last year when I found it meaningful to me to practice an Advent discipline. I also plan to participate in our church's quiet day on December 12. Have you ever selected a book, or a discipline, or planned a quiet day somewhere for yourself in preparation for the celebration of the Christ child's birth? This year might be a good year to do that. I'd love to hear about your selections and how that discipline goes for you. In the meantime - Happy Advent - and prayers for keeping your season in some semblance of tidy versus messy!


  1. We're having a quiet day on December 12 too! My friend Cathy and I are running it for the second year in a row. The theme we're focusing on this year is incarnation - the joy and messiness of life in the flesh, and becoming like children to receive the Christ child.

    The focus for me personally this Advent is messiness from the point of view of a child. My two-year-old is not bothered by the messes that drive me nuts! And I'm learning from her!

  2. Our two year olds are so creative and uninhibited. If we can only leave them that way think what geniuses we would raise! Alas, if it's not us it will be some well-meaning teacher who explains they're doing things in the "wrong" - coloring outside of the lines - arghh! I'm looking forward to that quiet day - I've lots of non-quiet days between now and then. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I love the notion of a quiet day. I'm off to set one on my calendar...hoping it's not too late!

  4. Hi SS, Am loving your advent posts. I don't know if I have mentioned before that I was raised very fundamentalist and we didn't observe any part of the liturgical calendar including (or excluding, I guess) Advent and Lent. We didn't even have Christmas or Christmas Eve services unless they fell on Sunday. So strange to think about now. Anyway, I have practiced Lenten disciplines for several years now, but this is my first year with Advent. One of our pastors at church is leading a devotional called Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent. It is very short and simple and I am just loving it.

    Can you tell me more about the Quiet Day? I have not heard of it.

    Also, I wanted to comment about a "mess of my own making". As the mother of young-ish children, I cannot WAIT until I only have to deal with my own messes. Of course I always will have my husband's messes to contend with. : )


  5. Rebecca (& SS) - i too was raised in a more fundamental environment that sounds much like yours in tradition. i adored going to the christmas eve midnight mass with a girlfriend when i was in high school. other than that, i don't ever remember going to christmas service until a few years ago. advent has become one of my favorite seasons and it definitely helps me stay focused away from the "shopping and eating" (well, sort of) and remember the waiting. sigh. the waiting.

    also re: the "mess of our own making". i much prefer my own messes to others (especially in my home)... something about knowing i can easily clean it up when i choose to... unlike the messes of life!! oh, there's a post in there somewhere methinks.

    i'm reading slowly these days. taking one step at a time. waiting in the mess! xoxoxoxo

    hmmmm the word veri here is "spent". $$$$? or energy?

  6. RE: other people's messes - What's always so humbling to me is when I find a mess and start inwardly grumbling to myself about the person who made it, and then realize it was me.

  7. oh, pollinatrix... that one made me laugh!!! thanks :-)

  8. Rebecca, Along with Lucy, I was not raised in a liturgical church either but when the Episcopal church was introduced to me many, many years ago I took to it at once; loved it ever since! I took up a special Advent discipline last year and am enjoying it again this year. I keep finding myself "awakened" as Abbey of the Arts invited us to the first of last week. The Quiet Day is really just that - a day in our church building beginning with Morning Prayer, a meditation and then we scatter out in the building to be still, to journal, to sketch, to read, to reflect. A bell is rung, we re-gather for another meditation, have a silent lunch, a meditation time in the afternoon. It is very unstructured and could be considered by some to be a completely wasted day. Having participated in them before I wrote it on my calendar before I found anything that could conflict with it. It's a great practice. I can't remember if you're the one that commented about the book "Anam Cara" - I think Lucy and Christine probably introduced me to in and I purchased it on my Kindle. Oh my, it is a delicious book. I'm sure it will begin sifting into my posts.

    And finally, the "messes" issue - it is great to only think about one's own messes. I, indeed, have learned to let my spouse worry about his own messes w/no interference from me although if we had a contest for the messiest, I would win hands down!:)