Saturday, First Week of Advent

O LORD, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways. – Psalm 139:1-3

“Tonight’s the night the world begins again.” — Goo Goo Dolls (Better Days)

The Gift of the Glowing Angels

It was chilly some Advent mornings before I came to college. Dark; I’d be up before the sun was up, the only one awake in the house. I’d pour myself some cold cereal and milk without turning on the lights, then pad into the living room and sit on the couch, knowing that the sun would not rise for another hour or two yet.

Sometimes on those mornings I would have to plug in the string of bulbs myself. Sometimes they would already be on, a sign that my insomniac father had sat where I was sitting at some point in the night, maybe wrapped in a blanket, but quiet, still.

The only lights were those which were wrapped around the Christmas tree, spilling out over tinsel and making tiny beaded angels glow.

There are moments in my life when it is easy to forget who I am. A particularly good book can keep me submerged for a long while without having to surface to my own reality. I sleep off stressful days, shutting away problems and cares for a few hours while the knots inside myself loosen and fall away. I put on a pair of headphones to fill my ears with music but also to shut out the cares, the chains, the expectations placed upon my life.

In this case, though, I’m not talking about moments of forgetting.

Maybe you know what I mean when I say that there is nothing that makes me remember who I am quite like those little glowing angels that sit in the branches of my old Christmas tree, the same ones for which I used to imagine stories when I was five, the same ones that I’d watched glittering on  winter nights for as long back as memory will take me.

Those mornings were not for forgetting. They were simply moments when I was renewed. Before I’d have to go about my day again, making the choices that decided who I was, figuring out what it was that I would eventually be.

I used to watch glowing angels, and take in the first few breaths of a new day.

Advent is a time when we realize that we are complete and yet becoming, quietly becoming, in each and every moment of our lives. Even the unseen ones.

I thank God for that.

-- Emma Bowman ‘15