Thursday, First Week in Advent
"Do not remember the former things (says the Lord) or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not percieve it?"
Take a moment, just one, to look across the dinner table at the people you love, and then shift your gaze to the window behind them - the long window that frames the yard, deep gray and white in the winter, the branches of the black walnut trees reaching for a cold sliver of winter moon. In the yard is the wooden swing set with the bright turret, unused for more than a year now, and the clothesline where you hang sheets in summer, making them smell like the sun. Take another moment, shift your gaze back to the table to the children, now almost grown – grown taller than you – while one tells a story somehow relating his history teacher, the Peloponnesians and some Gummi Bears, and the other one hums the opening bars of The Nutcracker under her breath, feet performing the steps under the table.
Listen to them. Listen to the sleet dropping on the deck, to the whoosh of the heat kicking in and the Robert Shaw chorale singing O Come, Emanuel. Taste, really taste, the warm meal put in front of you, the spices, the textures. Gratitude for the dinner has a flavor, too. Smell the pine branches that surround the candles in their reindeer candle holders, the wood burning in the living room fireplace, the shortbread in the oven. Feel yourself on the planet, in a good place, not needing to look forward or rush the season. No need to plan days of shopping or make any sort of headlong dash to create perfection by Christmas Eve. Whatever moment we are waiting for may have already arrived, and may arrive again and again, provided we are present enough to notice it.
This is Christmas: Not just the one day, but all the days in which so many gifts are given to us; a feast for the senses, a reason to be. And even if on Christmas Day the pie crust falls to pieces on its way into the dish, or your daughter eats five popovers so your brother doesn’t get any, joy is still here for the taking. Why wait?
-- Amy James
Director of Community Outreach