Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas to all!

It has been a busy Advent. The older I get, the faster December seems to go, but I guess that's true for everyone. I have had very little time to continue working on the line edits for Eddie's Wake, which is very frustrating. I miss my connection to Karl Stern and his mother, Maggie; Jacob Denver and his brother, Will! Since it will take about 90 days from final submission to the time I have a real, honest to goodness book in my hands, I doubt that I'll have the book available until after Easter. (I hope Lent will be a bit more sane than Advent has been.)

But I do want to thank everyone who reads this blog, especially my seven "followers." Thanks for checking in, and for your supportive comments; they mean a lot. Let me know what you'd like to see on the blog, and I'll be happy to see what I can do.

I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Blessed New Year. Enjoy the holidays! May God grant you warmth, kind people around you, peace of mind, good health and happy reading.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Blue Christmas

Hello again. I've been feeling guilty about the last post - it just seems too depressing for this time of year. So--I apologize for throwing out such a downer.Here's one of my early attempts at writing something that wasn't a paper for school or a sermon or some other important thing like that.

Angel Word

Three ate with Abraham and one fed Elijah in the wilderness. Gabriel interpreted the unthinkable for Daniel, Zechariah and Mary. And now we knew that someone was to go again, for we had felt the undertones of Their deliberations. The whole of Heaven lay still with the deep anticipatory calm before...we knew not what.

All the other times we were as children underfoot, begging to be made privy to the secrets of the universe, hoping in our hearts to be the one honored as bearer of His message. For you see, this Great One, this One in Three is our Beloved, the One whom we are pleased to serve.

This time, every one of us was well behaved. Rank upon rank, we hosts of heaven begged only in our hearts and stood at solemn attention, each ready to be chosen. Then came the Three of Them, linked arm in arm, the Word flanked on either side. We saw then that the choice had already been made. For an instant, sun and moon and stars and all the cosmos failed in their ordered paths, so tender was the embrace, so longing was the farewell. This time, the Message was too great for us to bear. He went to you Himself.

The Door of Heaven, always so tightly guarded, was flung widely open as He left. As we clamored around the Door to see Him off, He turned and said, "You come, too; come and see!" And the distance became nothing, the eons became now, and the Word became flesh before our eyes. The young girl wrapped her new son in blankets and cradled him with a mother's love. Then we comprehended all that we had seen and understood all the messages that we had carried.

O you foolish, rebellious people!
Why would you not listen to His messengers and prophets?
O you favored, fortunate people!
Do you not realize how greatly you are loved?

For not only did He Himself come to you; He became one of you.

O the awesome wonder of it!
How could we help but sing you to your senses?
O the awesome wonder of it!
How can you help but sing?

For the distance has become nothing, the eons have become now,
the Word has become flesh, and the Door is still open...

Advent 1993 Hebrews 2:14-17

The photo is from a bonfire last summer -- keep warm!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wild Advent (Warning: She Waxes Theological!)

Advent--the four week long season of the Church Year that rolls around every year before Christmas--is supposed to be the time to prepare for Christ's coming; meaning, on the most obvious level, that we're getting ready for Christmas. Great. Kids in churches are getting ready for Sunday School programs while they also are waiting like crazy for Santa. We set up our Christmas trees, either by dragging the big box up from the basement or by bringing home a natural, formerly live tree tied to the roof of the car. Christmas music is everywhere, from the aisles of Walmart to risers set up in school cafeterias, where the events are called Holiday Concerts.

But there's a more interior level, for those who pay attention to the lessons from Scripture we read in church on any of the four Sundays before Christmas, and most people aren't very comfortable with it. We're preparing for Christ's coming, yes indeed, but not as a baby in Bethlehem. We're supposed to be preparing for Christ's second coming at the end of time. And if we think we're off the hook on that one, since none of us really expects to be around at the end of time, we're sadly mistaken. Sure, we're supposed to be ready for that second coming; but I think the coming of Christ we're supposed to be prepared for is much more intimate than that. This "second coming" is your own personal death and mine, when the Lord closes our eyes for the last time, when our hearts still, when the blood coursing through our veins no longer carries life to every reach of our bodies. When Jesus comes to take us "home" at the end of our days.
"Oh, that second coming!"

The thing is, working in the Church, I'm torn and I'm really tired. It's ever so much more fun to say that Advent is about decorating the church building, practicing music for Christmas Eve, or having tea with the Women's Group with a smile on my face. But the reality is that I am spending way more time planning special things than I am sitting with those whose own personal end times are immanent. The reality is that it's the time of year I walk around with a lump in my throat, I don't sleep well, and I don't feel well much of the time, either. Oh, and then there's my own family's Christmas to think about. (When was I going to do that?)

Working on the last phase of Eddie's Wake is a rare thing during Advent, as is writing in this blog. But I woke up before 5:30 this morning, so I wrapped up in my bathrobe and blanket and am sitting next to icy windows to tell you I haven't forgotten about you. Next time I'll share a poem I wrote nearly twenty years ago and maybe bit more of the novel. May your preparations for Christmas be meaningful and filled with peace. Thanks for reading!
P.S. The photo above was taken from the window by my desk yesterday morning, after an all night snowstorm.