Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Dark Days of Advent
Now that I've finally put our sad, Charlie Brown Christmas tree in the compost, it's time to catch up on these Advent posts!
My grandad reminded me some weeks back that the historic birth of Christ is believed to have occurred in April. The liturgical celebration of Christmas was set for late December because the Church, in her wisdom, knew that people (that is, dwellers of the Northern Hemisphere) needed to celebrate the winter solstice. The return of the sun provided such an excellent metaphor for the coming of the Savior. In this way, Christmas, in addition to being a season of abundant graces, is treatment for seasonal affect disorder!
I had fine hopes of having a prayerful and industrious Advent. This was to be our first Christmas on our own,and I wanted to revel in the freedom of being neither traveler nor host. Time to make our own traditions! Time to start filling Maria's little head with shiny, happy holiday memories! I had great expectations as I sat designing our card in the days following Thanksgiving.
My ambitions were partly foiled by moodiness--December was a grumpy month. We had weeks of gray, rainy days. I struggled to adjust to Maria's napless days. I missed my English-speaking friends at Mom's group ---Maria's 11:30 pickup from school prevented me from attending. (I find this to be the greatest difficulty of being a stay at home mom--having a day short in both solitude and adult companionship.) Louisa had her first double-ear infection. Maria continued in her refusal paint at school. Bad news of the events at Newtown and the fiscal cliff seeped in. Donnie's energies were stretched between research commitments, administrative chores, and job applications. (Even when it's going well, the Job-seeking state of life is marred by uncertainty. ) These things, as slight as they were, conspired to make us irritable.
When Christmas came, it felt less like a carefully planned and highly anticipated event, and more like a reprieve. We stumbled our way through Advent and fell gratefully on the lighted threshold of Christmas.
And that, perhaps, is how it must be! Help comes from the outside--just as it did that night in Bethlehem.
Despite the December pall, we did a few Advent activities that I hope we'll continue in future years. In the next couple of posts, I'll be sharing them with you. If I were a savvy blogger, I'd probably reserve these for next year, when people are more in a mood to look at Advent calendars. But you are all so terribly indulgent--even of my tardiness. Thank you and Happy New Year!